NATIONAL FISHWORKERS' FORUM (NFF)
Head Office: 20/4 Sil Lane, Kolkata – 700 015, Telefax:033-23283989, Mob:09434039599, e-mail: email@example.com
Delhi Office: C/O Delhi Forum, F10/12 Malviya Nagar, New Delhi-110017, Tel: 011-26680914, 011- 20080883
National Campaign for the Rights of Fisherpeople
Kutch- Kanyakumari- Kolkata
1st May to 27th June 2008
FISHERS MARCH TO DELHI
CHENNAI, JUNE 09, 2008
The National Campaign for the Rights of Fisherpeople with the motto "Save the Coast, Save the Fishers" started from Jakhau, Kutch, Gujarat on the 1st May 2008 and reached Tamilnadu on 1 June 2008. The Jatha was accorded a warm reception by fisher peoples' orgnisations namely Tamilnadu Fishermen's' Union, Ramnad District Fishworkers Union and Vangakadal Meena Thozilalar Union. The campaign team visited and addressed public meetings at 70 fishing villages and landing centres along the Kanyakumari, Thirunelveli, Thuthikodi, Ramnad, Thanjavur, Udukottai, Nagapattanam, Cuddalore, Pondicherry and Kanchipuram. The team arrived in Chennai today. Fishing community leaders from different districts of Tamilnadu along with representative of civil society organisations and eminent persons from different parts of India assembled in Chennai in solidarity with the campaign for protenction fisher peoples' rights. The assembly unanimously demanded scrapping of draft Coastal Zone Management (CMZ) Notification of MoEF.
In the course of its journey so far, the campaign team found the fisher people and other coastal communities severely opposing the move of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) to replace the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification of 1991 by a new Coastal Management Zone (CMZ) Notification. Communities across the coast considered the new CMZ notification as a design to condone all violations of the CRZ committed by various commercial interests and to protect those who connived to allow such violations. The fisherpeople alleged CMZ will further open the flood gates for exploitation and plunder of coastal resources to the detriment of fisher people and other coastal communities. Ultimately this would result in a crisis of food and nutritional security of the people. People burnt copies of the draft CMZ notification to give vent to their wrath. On its way - from Kutch to Chennai in the along the coastline - the campaign encountered quite a number of ecologically damaging projects in coastal zone e.g Mundra SEZ in Kutch, Reliance Petrochem & Refineries in Jamnagar, Atul Agrochemicals in Dahej (all in Gujarat); Special Tourism Zone (STZ) in Gorai, Reliance Container Port in Raigadh, Bharati Shipyard in Dabhol (all in Maharastra); water sport complex of UB group in Nerul, (Goa); proposed special mega tourism zone in north Karnataka, government intention of coastal reclamation for industrial use in Kerala, rampant sand mining in all states, Commercial Harbours at Colachel, Kulasekharapatnam thermal power plant, Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project are a few to mention. Tamilnadu fishing community wholly oppose to the Sethu Samundram Shipping Canal and demand immediate withdrawal of ban on sea–cucumber fishing and remove restrictions on sea-weed and shell collection in the 21 islands off Rameswaram.
Fishworkers specifically complained against commercial harbours, sand mining, import of fish, SSSC, inadequate and irregular supply of Kerosene for OBM and discrepancy in utilization of tsunami funds. They complained against the operation of foreign vessels in Indian waters indulging in indiscriminate fishing by use of unauthorized gears.
Some of the demands:
¨ Withdraw CMZ Notification and strictly implement CRZ Notification – 1991 till enactment of a comprehensive legislation.
¨ Stop commercial harbours, thermal power plants and sand mining.
¨ Cancel Letter of Permits given to foreign fishing vessels
¨ Stop diversion of Tsunami rehabilitation fund to other projects and utilize the entire fund for the Tsunami affected people without any further delay.
NFF Campaign team will continue its sojourn along the Tanilnadu coast till 10th June, 2008.
Fishing community and other coastal communities will march onto the Parliament during the monsoon session on 22nd July 2008 and continue agitation in Delhi for indefinite period till withdrawal of CMZ notification & realization of 15 point Charter of Demands.
Today the fishworkers also took part a Seminar on ILO Convention on Work in the Fishing. The Seminar demanded to the Central Government to ratify the ILO Convention and enact an appropriate legislation to implement the rights of the fish workers recommended by the said Convention.
Mr. Harekrishna Debnath, Chairperson, National Fishworkers' Forum (NFF), NFF Executive Members Ms. Jesu Rethinam (Tamilanadu), Mr. P. Ramalingam (Andhra Pradesh), Mr. Ramesh Dhuri (Maharashtra), Mr. K. Alleya (Orissa), Mr. Debashis Shyamal (West Bengal), Mr. Paul Samy, President, Ramnad District Fishworkers' Trade Union (RFTU), Mr. Peter Dhas, President, Tamilnadu Fishworkers' Union (TFU), Mr. M. Ilango, Convenor, Joint Action Committee of Pondicherry State Fishermens' Organisation, and Mr. Osman Gani Sourashia (Gujrat), addressed the press meet.
National Fishworkers' Forum (NFF)