Drop CMZ, National Fishworkers Forum tells Centre

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Puducherry, June 8 (UNI) National Fishworkers Forum (NFF) Chairperson Harikrishna Debnath today urged the Centre to immediately drop the move to implement Coastal Management Zone (CMZ) and instead efficiently implement the existing Coastal Regulation Act, 1991.

Addressing a press conference here, he alleged that the Union Government, which had waived off fishermen's dues to the tune of Rs 71,000 crore, had done nothing to ensure the development of fishermen community. Instead, it proposed to introduce the CMZ at the instance of ''some wealthy people'', which would affect the lives of fishermen across the country.

Noting that if objections were not raised by June 29, the new Bill would be passed automatically, Mr Debnath ridiculed the Government for uploading the draft Bill in its website in Hindi as the poor fishermen would not be able to access it. Fishermen across the country would observe June 20 as the National Action Day by organising demonstrations, picketings, dharnas and road rokhos in 3,300 fishing hamlets to press the Prime Minister to drop CMZ.

He wanted the Union Government to hold bilateral talks with Pakistan and Sri Lanka to safeguard the interests of fishermen and ensure that the Indian fishermen were not attacked by their Navy.

On the Sethusamudram Shipping Channel project, he demanded that the project be stopped forthwith as it would endanger marine species.

UNI PAB GD RL KN1516

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