The Goa Church has demanded withdrawal of the draft Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification 2018, saying it seems like "guidelines to facilitate projects rather than protecting the environment".
The Centre for Responsible Tourism (CRT), an initiative of the Goa Church, claimed that the notification regularises violations to CRZ and opens way for further depredation of the coastal ecology and environment.
CRT's general secretary Father Freddy Braganza, in his letter sent on June 9 to Arvind Nautiyal, director, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, has raised objections over the proposed amendments in the notification.
The ministry had released the draft notification on April 18 seeking comments and suggestions from the general public within 60 days.
"The way the draft is framed seems more like guidelines to facilitate projects, rather than to protect the environment. In view of this, the draft CRZ notification 2018 should be categorically withdrawn," CRT said in its five-page letter.
The draft notification, in terms of its character and contents, in the nature and course of preparation, and the way it is being thrust across, is a perfect assault on the environment and livelihood, it alleged.
"The proposed notification regularises violations to CRZ and opens way for further depredation of our coastal ecology and environment," it said, adding that draft dilutes the existing CRZ norms.
Braganza demanded that the ministry should prepare and enact the draft through democratic consultation with all stakeholders, especially the fishing community.
A comprehensive legislation should be framed that would ensure conservation of the coastal environment, ecology, and natural resources and protect thetraditional livelihood options, CRT said.
"Stringent measures should be in place for CRZ violations," it demanded.
The environment ministry recently framed new rules governing the country's coastline in which it has proposed expanding land area for development activities and tourism infrastructure.
The norms also simplify the procedure for CRZ clearances.
Under the new draft, CRZ limits on land along the tidal influenced water bodies has been proposed to be reduced from 100 meters or the width of the creek to 50 meters or the width of the creek, whichever is less.