De-commodifying culture: Through the various village/community groups, people are being made aware that Goan culture is distinct and it must not be compromised within the tourism arena. The need to market in an effective way is being highlighted through the various people who can take the message of Goa’s distinct cultural heritage through people, guest houses, shacks, and young people. Street theatre and other art forms are being popularized through tiatrists and other categories of artists.
Water abuse: This issue is being fought in courts alongside opposition to hotels who are in violation of environmental standards. Specifically, community/village groups are taking up this matter with local and state authorities arguing that water is a basis right and not a commodity that can be sold for pleasure when it does not serve the basics needs of people. Groups are filing RTIs around which they hope to put together campaigns against the abuse of their essential water resources for sheer pleasures.
Contesting negative foreign travel advisories: Only marginal attention has been paid to this in the last year, but in the years to come CRT intends to aggressively address the question of negative media publicity particularly during the Christmas time. In the wake of the so-called ‘Mumbai attacks on November 26th, 2008 several countries restrained their citizens from traveling to Goa. Other countries demanded ridiculous levels of security precautions for tourists from their countries which left the coastline looking more like an army barrack. There is suspicion that the travel advisories issued at the peak of the tourist season (December 15th to January 10th each year) are largely geared to getting popular destinations buying security contracts – many of which come for certain countries. The travel advisory is usually based on knee jerk reactions and/or irrational analysis of situations as well as with intent to make profits from security arrangements.
Tourism Impact Assessment Studies (TIAs): CRT has completed a TIA in Benaulim and hopes to complete such studies in all the villages that it is working in by the end of the next tourism season. The study is geared to:
– Assessing, and analyzing how tourism in Goa impacts the coast and the communities who live in the area.
– Identifying issues that have a negative impact on the coastal ecology and communities as a consequence of unbridled tourism.
– Formulating strategies for a new tourism that will bring benefits to local communities from tourism and protecting and enhancing e the livelihoods of local entrepreneurs
– Ensure that proper environmental standards are defined and maintained – including such matters as overcrowding, keeping up coastal vegetation, garbage disposal, noise pollution, traffic excesses, waste management,
– Guaranteeing that hosts and visitors advance patterns of responsible tourism
– Ensuring that Goan culture and identity is preserved and enhanced in the tourism equation
A special training for about 35 community leaders was held in March 2008 in Margao. Resource Persons were from EQUATIONS.
CRT has been unable to complete more studies on the coast line of Goa and should find ways and means of completing such studies with institutions such TISS, Nirmala’s School of Social Work, and Don Bosco School of Social Work etc whose students are invariably interested in doing such studies as part of their Field Studies.
Protests against proposed Casinos in Goa:
Our community groups actively joined wider protests against the Government’s plans to license operation of floating casinos along the coast of Goa. In a letter to the Chief Minister, they pointed out how they felt betrayed and conveyed in no uncertain terms that they do not trust in the CM’s promises of clean governance. They asserted that “as groups concerned about and involved in fighting the negative impacts of gambling on our society, we support all the organizations that oppose the licensing of floating casinos in the State of Goa. They emphatically stated that they vehemently oppose the establishments of floating casinos anywhere in Goa. Casinos, they stated, have already created social havoc; and there is fear that they will draw youth and local people to squander their meager earnings on gambling. This they argued would severely endanger the social fabric of Goa.
Campaigns for environmental protection:
Have taken the form of public rallies against the perceived attempt by big corporations to ‘buy’ off the Goa Coast. ‘Our Coast is not for Sale’ has been a rallying slogan. CRT has also carried out 17 awareness events attracting people in large numbers to create awareness and opposition to the Ministry of Environment and Forests’ (MOEF) plans to impose a Coastal Management Zone regime on the coastal states which would be against the interests of the people and, in effect, violate many of their fundamental rights. In this connection, several special Gram Sabhas were convened and resolutions opposing the CMZ approved. This has been a mass and state wide campaign. A mass rally and public meeting brought together close to 1000 people from the coastal villages all across Goa in September, 2007.
Costal Sarpanch coalition:
CERT has formed a Costal Sarpanch coalition and has held several meetings to forge common approaches that effect people across the coastal areas especially owing to tourism. CERT supported (it continues to) the Panchayats in contesting the High Court Directive on 26th September, 2007 on CRZ matters. Our attempts have resulted in a stay and postponement of all these issues until further study has been done. Meanwhile, with the community groups, a sense of alertness prevails about potential government actions. The Sarpanchs of many ofGoa’s coastal villages view the CRT as a useful; rallying point and information sharing locale.
Protecting local livelihoods:
Guaranteeing that local communities are the first beneficiaries of tourism was a matter of high priority for CRT. In one village, the community group organized the local vendors to oppose licensing of outsiders seeing that the latter practice was depriving the original settlers of the coasts livelihoods. Working with the local Panchayat, a resolution was adopted to protect their livelihood rights. In addition, the women of the village were also formed into a self-help group. The first attempt of this group was to initiate a savings cooperative.
Involving Panchayats/Gram Sabhas in contesting negative tourism impacts :
The Cansaulim under the active influence of the Cansaulim community group organized the Gram Sabha members to pass a resolution aimed at fighting the growth of big hotels and protection of local resources. It must be noted that the big hotels more often than not operate with detrimental effects to local communities. The resolution taken up by the Gram Sabha read as follows:
Goa’s increasingly witnessing a growth of 5-star hotels and big resorts on its coastline. All of these hotels and resorts arrive in Goawith promises of providing employment to local people and helping to advance the economy of Goa. After over 20 years of seeing the operations of these hotels, Goans have concluded that:
- Only a marginal number of locals are employed by these hotels.
- The jobs provided to the locals are at the lower rung of the job categories.
- Outsiders are given preferential treatment in respect of appointments even when there are equally qualified Goans for the job.
- People with traditional occupations have been displaced especially the fisher folk and toddy tappers.
Moreover, these hotels violate other norms and traditions:
- Almost without exception they violate CRZ regulations with impunity.
- Most, if not all, dump garbage and sewage into the local agricultural fields and even channel them into the sea, especially during the rainy season thus causing irreversible environmental havoc and consequent health hazards and economic losses. .
- They use up water resources which should, as a matter of priority, be given to use for local community uses- water is a basic need and when it is used wastefully for lush lawns, water sports, swimming pools, and golf courses, it is a violation of community rights.
- The above also applies to electricity. While local people must put up with power shut downs with great frequency, the hotels and resorts use electricity wastefully with total disregard for local consumption.
In view of the above, the Gram Sabha of Cansaulim resolves to:
- Immediately stop the licensing of any new hotels and expansion of 5- star hotels and big resorts in our area.
- Encourage local entrepreneurship by urging the government to provide subsidies and incentives for Goans to become hosts of tourists through Small and Medium Guest Houses and Hotels owned and operated by local people.
- Immediately stop the licensing of any mega housing projects that often function as rent backs and illegal housing for tourists.
- Guarantee the licensing of locals from the coastal belt as vendors and shack owners on the coasts as a means of providing self employment to disadvantaged Goans. (By providing such occupations to local people, the tourism industry will be able to maintain standards that reflect Goan identity and particularity.)”
Resolution of the Gram Sabha for the Protection of the Right to Livelihood of Vendors in Cavelossim (Through the Sarpanch of Cavelossim Panchayat):
CRT also enabled its community groups to work at protecting local livelihoods. After a sustained campaign, mobilization, and dialogue with the Panchayat and the local church (a very influential institution inGoa), the villagers went to the Gram Sabha with a resolution which found unanimous approval.
“WHEREAS the Gram Sabha of the Cavelossim Panchayats recognizes that the coastal areas of local inhabitants having fixed habitation in the coastal zone for many generations having adapted the trades of fishing and toddy tapping for which natural resources of this coastal zone have been responsibly utilized .
AND whereas owing to the industrialization arrival and Pre-eminence of tourism on this coastline the local inhabitants of Goan owing and ancestry were deprived by their traditional livelihood.
AND WHEREAS the locals inhabitants of this coastal belt were forced to depend on tourism related activities as a source of live hood.
AND WHEREAS tourism is the backbone of this coastal zone and a source of live hood for the business relating to vending products have increased tremendously.
AND WHEREAS the possibilities for vending products that at least tourist are not large in number and it is being observed that persistent and forceful marketing of these products is carried out by vendors through sales agents and that the tourists fell harassed by the penance of an overwhelming number of vendors.
AND WHEREAS the protection of local livelihoods should remain the prior responsibility and concern of the Panchayat and other bodies responsible for the economic, social, and cultural advancement and protection of the people who are constituents of the village of Cavelossim, namely the original inhabitants of the coast who are fisher folk, toddy tappers, and other such traditional occupations,
The Gram Sabha of the Cavelossim Panchayat resolves that:
- In matters of granting licenses to vendors on the beach that first preference is given to traditional and longstanding occupants of the coastline of Cavelossim since they have had to often give up other occupations in order to cater to tourists.
- The number of licenses granted to vendors on the beach should not at any time exceed thirty (30) persons so as to ensure that there is no excessive competition among vendors and the resultant social tensions and potential conflict.
- The policy of restricting vendors will also assist in avoidance of overcrowding of the beach with the tourists who normally seek a quiet and relaxed holiday atmosphere.
- A zero-tolerance policy of sub-leasing of vending licenses will be imposed. Anyone violating the conditions of licensing with regard to sub-leasing will have their licenses revoked with immediate effect and be prohibited from re-applying for such license for the coming three years.
- Vending Products will be strictly restricted to the shops for which licenses are issued and no sale of products through sales agents will be allowed nor will independent sales persons be permitted to operate on the beaches.
- Any violation of item 5 (above) will result in immediate and unconditional revocation of their shop license and the said shop will be closed with immediate effect.
- New licensees for the closed shops will be sought through accepted Panchayat procedures.
- The Panchayat will assist local vendors by liaising with the Small and Medium Industries and other relevant Departments of the Government of Goa to assist in the training of seasonal vendors with off-season tradable skills.
- The Panchayat will ensure strict adherence to the above by appointing local security personnel drawn from among young unemployed people in the village who will assist police in preventing undue increase of the coastlines carrying capacity.”
Cansaulim, Arrossim and Cuelim Community group mobilizes citizens to oppose Heritage Resorts Club expansion in the area.
In their fight against the imposition of big hotels and resorts in their area, citizens of three villages persistently protested their licensing. They lobbied through awareness campaigns, at the Panchayat level, and through their elected representatives. In the specific case of the Heritage Resorts, they carried out a signature campaign and hundreds of villagers signed up on a letter which said:
“We the undersigned citizens of Cansaulim, Arrossim and Cuelim areas strongly protest and oppose the proposed expansion of the Heritage Resorts Club.
The following are the reasons for opposing the said expansion
- The resort is located within 200 to 500 m from the High Tide Line (HTL) which is demarcated as No Development Zone according to the CRZ Notification
- The quantity of water used for a month by the population of village Panchayat of Cansaulim – Arossim- Cuelim is 19440 cum. And Heritage Resorts club consumed 5012.70 cum which is nearly double the consumption of the 3 villages. In a water stressed area such huge demand of water is bound to create inequity in access to water.
- The Resort has been discharging untreated solid wastes and effluents directly into the sea.
- Expansion does not support the traditional rights and customary uses of local communities
- The access road left by the resort is less then the prescribed 10 mts.
- Our beaches are common property resources and are being usurped by this hotel.
- Encroachment by the hotel will severely effect traditional fishing operations because of extensive tourism activities. This attack on livelihoods is unacceptable.
- The distinct likelihood of water sports would affect the water quality by the discharge of Oil and grease.
Citizens did not simply protest. They used the RTIs to compile information and built up sound documentation around which they found valid arguments with which to convince co-citizens and the authorities. The statistics below pertaining to water and electricity consumption by hotels irked many a citizen and galvanized the struggle – a successful one at the end of the day.
Select Group of Hotels withdraws request for extension of expansion of a Heritage Village Club in Arrossim: The Select Group of Hotels which the citizens fought withdrew their petition against the Panchayat of Cansaulim seeking permission for an extension to the Heritage Village Club on the Arrossim Beach.
Since September 2007, the Cansaulim Arrossim and Velsao Peoples Front for the Protection of Environment had been agitating over the expansion of a Heritage Village Club within an area notified as CRZ III under the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification dated 19.02.1991 issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. After much mobilization and mass awareness campaigns, the citizens had decided to approach the High Court to gain some relief. Through their petition, the citizens were seeking an order or direction in the nature of Certiorari quashing the clearance granted by Ministry of Environment dated 15.08.2006 and the no objection granted by the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority.
The petitioners represented by Mr. Alfred Pereira De Andrade claim a deep interest in protecting Coastal Ecology and livelihoods of the coastal communities. Their petition also sought to protect the cultural integrity of Goa and the Green Environment along the coasts and with the villages. Citizen concern was centered on environmental issues and especially those related to the protection of the coastal areas from haphazard construction and which threaten to destroy the fragile coastline of Goa.
The citizens were represented by two well known lawyers, Mr. Mihir Dessai, an eminent lawyer of the High Court in Mumbai and Mr. Aagney Sail, a Supreme Advocate who specializes on environmental and labour law. Both of the advocates are lawyers related to the Human Rights Law Network – a national network of lawyers and social activists concerned about and involved in issues of justice and human rights. They argued that Select Holiday Resorts Pvt. Ltd. had claimed to have obtained all requisite permission from the competent authorities for the expansion of the resort in Survey No 113/3, 114/1 and 115/1 in Village Arossim, Mormugao Taluka. However, the Panchayat of Village Arrossim, Cuelim and Cansaulim had declined to grant a license for the resort in view of the letter sent by the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (‘GCZMA’). The High Court had ordered on13-10-2006that till the survey and inquiry of all the dwelling units in CRZ-III areas is complete, no new structure of whatsoever nature shall be allowed to be constructed in CRZ III Zone except repairs and renovations.
In filing the Writ petition the advocates also brought to the attention of the High Court attention to blatant violations of the provisions of the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification as well as false and baseless averments made by the respondents while justifying their ecologically and socially damaging expansion plans.
The Citizens had earlier commissioned two specialist organizations to study extent of the adverse social and environmental impacts due to the violation of the CRZ Notification and the rampant illegal construction, encroachment, pollution and overall ecological changes as well as denial of access to the local communities to the beaches and sea. The studies carried out by ATREE (Asoka Trust for Research in Environment and Ecology) and the Bangalore based EQUATIONS (Equitable Tourism Options) revealed that encroachment of the beach by the Resorts affect the livelihood of the fishermen. The space required by them for drying their nets, spreading fish for drying and selling, parking their fishing boats and related activities gets seriously affected.
The studies on M/S Select Resorts (Heritage Resorts Club) also showed that:
- That the resort is located within 200 to 500 m from the High Tide Line (HTL) which is demarcated as “No Development Zone” according to the CRZ Notification dated 19.02.1991.
- The said resort had constructed permanent construction beyond and within the 200m from the HTL in violation of the CRZ III (ii) of the Notification;
- The construction is beyond and against the ambit of traditional rights and customary uses which is in violation of CRZ III (iii) of the Notification.
- The Resort had not left enough space for access to the beaches as prescribed in Annexure II 7 (ix) of the CRZ Notification. Contrary to the prescribed 20 m, the space left for public access to the beach is less than 10m.
- The resort had employed security guards to prevent local people from accessing the beach area. The free movement of the local communities gets restricted thereby affecting their livelihood of the coastal communities who are predominantly dependent on the coast for their living.
- The resort had put up barbed wire fences without any vegetative cover of the CRZ Notification.
- The Resort had also been discharging untreated solid wastes and effluents directly into the sea. Moreover, dressing, altering and flattening of Sand dunes had been carried out for construction and fencing.
It is important to note thatGoais rich in the diversity of turtles and construction of a holiday resort would by all means disturb the fauna of the seashores. The report “Towards an Integrated and Collaborative Sea Turtle Conservation Programme inIndia” reveals that the status of sea turtle populations on theMaharashtraandGoacoasts ofIndialists and classifies Arossim as a medium nesting potential area. Medium nesting potential sites are less populated areas with sparse tourist activity.
There were other matters of serious social and environmental concern. It was noted that Hotel Heritage already consumed 5012.70 cum of water while Hotel Park Hyatt consumed 36217 cum of water, which is almost double the requirement of the three villages in the area. Such a situation was bound to create inequity in access to water which is recognized as a Fundamental Right under Article 21 of the Constitution and a denial of the same is also a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.
While Select Hotels claimed that all the proposed constructions are located beyond 200 meters on the landward side from the High Tide Line (HTL), demarcated by the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), in reality as per the report of Equations, permanent Structures had been constructed beyond and within 200 m of the HTL and permission was being sought to extend the construction within the 200 m towards the seaward side. Thus contrary to what the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority was arguing, construction was being planned on the seaward side and not landward side. It is stated that ‘the plot area comprises of level land, devoid of sand dunes’. However, the report of Equations mentions clearly that ‘dressing, altering and flattening of sand dunes’ had been carried out for construction and fencing.
Select had also claimed that the Public Works department had agreed to provide the required water supply to the project. However, a perusal of the Report of the Public Works Department dated May, 2006 only provided for conditional clearance and also at the same time mentions of an overall scarcity of water in the entire Mormugao Taluka. The statement that the Electricity Department has certified the availability of power supply to the project was also misrepresentation of fact. The letter from the Executive Engineer, clearly stated that power supply shall be made available ‘only on’ commissioning of the transformer at Verna Sub-Station and it further stated that work of commissioning of power transformer was under progress.
Public at large is the beneficiary of the seashore, running waters, air, forests and ecologically fragile lands. The State as a trustee is under a legal duty to protect the natural resources. These resources meant for public use cannot be concerted into private ownership.
Although, Select Holidays have reserved the right to appeal the decision of the Panchayat to deny them permission to construct an extension to the Heritage Village Club at higher levels, the Citizens of Cansaulim, Arrossim, and Velsao hope that they will respect the rights and wishes of citizens in the area and thus show their concern for the integrity of their cultural identities as well as respect for local livelihoods and safeguarding the environment.
Organizing the people to oppose attempted clearing coastal villages of traditional coastal communities
(Initiative carried out in cooperation with HRLN- Goa and ATREE)
The coastal stretch ofGoais made up of diverse ecosystems – sand dunes, beaches, wetlands, mangroves, estuaries, backwater lagoons and coral reefs. Settlements of traditional people who inhabit these areas depend on coastal resources and seas for their survival. They are increasingly being displaced and either migrate into the hinterlands or out of the State for survival.
Furthermore, several activities such as unregulated tourism, polluting industries; infrastructure, aquaculture, sand mining, and rapid urbanization pose serious threats to the health of these ecosystems and to lives and livelihoods of coastal communities.
- Such projects need to be frozen with immediate effect. Tourism development has taken a huge toll onGoa’s coastal environment with violations mounting by the day. The ‘carrying capacity’ of the coasts has far been exceeded due to tourism and other related activities. Coastal eco-systems which are, inherently, fragile will. suffer irreversible and grave damage.
- At the same time, traditional communities are being blamed for all the chaos while the reality is that the big hotels and resorts, and other commercial activities are the real cause of the violations. While the rich and powerful- the real violators of the coastal ecology will go scot free, there is an attempt, in the name of coastal regulation, to displace and disadvantage traditional coastal communities who owe their ancestry back to many hundred years The bureaucracy and the politician has targeted the traditional occupants of the coasts ignoring the fact that some of what are termed illegalities by them do little or nothing to harm the eco systems.
- A few years ago the state government identified over 1280 constructions that defied the ban on construction within 200 meters of the high tide line. A number of blatant violations of the CRZ (coastal regulation zone) on the tourist coast were meant to face the axe. Hundreds of illegalities have escaped being demolished in the past with the connivance of politicians. Obviously, they represent the interests of the political class and the rich.
CRT decided to intervene on the side of the people on the understanding that the Coastal Zone Regulation (CRZ) notification was introduced with three main principles that CRT would pursue in its everyday work:
- The need to arrive at a balance between development needs and protection of natural resources
- Activities that are harmful for coastal communities and their environment should be either prohibited or appropriately regulated.
- Coastal ecosystems are to be managed in a sustainable manner, so that the livelihoods of millions will be protected and their survival guaranteed.
CRT argues that CRZ 1991 should be retained because it protects the environment by setting high standards for its protection while recognizing that island and coastal ecologies are fragile and requires close caring and attention; the notification also guaranteed the livelihoods and rights of long standing coastal communities. We do not need another notification which is as weak as the CRZ Notification has now become. What is needed is a solid law, driven by a totally different approach – whether that should result in reverting to a better version of the CRZ Notification, 1991 or in a completely new legislation for land use on coasts. CRT campaigns for this new law and works at creating awareness on this with its various components.
In the context of the above, the question needs to be discussed as to why the High Court of Bombay has given various directions with regard to compliance with CRZ regulations. CRT studied the problems emanating from the Court directive, the subsequent show cause notices that the Panchayats had to issue and the options that lay before the people. Examining the High Court order as a necessary first step a meeting of CRT officials with Sarpanchs of Coastal Panchayats noted the following.
- On 26th September 2007 the High Court of Bombay inGoa based on Suo Moto Writ Petition No2 of 2006 was given various directions with regard to compliance of CRZ Regulations. In summary, these included:
- a. Identifying structures existing on19/2/1991 based on survey maps prepared by Directorate of Settlement and Land Records. This may also be done by reference to existing survey plans under the Land Revenue Code and on the basis of permissions/ licenses issued by the respective Panchayats / Municipalities
- b. In respect of structures not identified as existing prior to 1991 notices were to be issued to owners and occupants to show cause why the said structure should not be demolished as having been constructed in the NDZ area.
- c. Panchayats and Municipalities were authorized to take a decision based on written replies or personal hearings within 90 days of serving notice.
- d. If a said structure was not ascertained as pre 1991 and no stay was sort with a higher authority then the structure would be liable for demolition within 60 days from the date of the serving of final decision on the owner or occupants. Furthermore if Panchayats/ Municipalities observe structures that have been validly constructed or repaired with permission of CRZ authorities the above directions will not apply.
- e. The Panchayats were also directed to monitor that no new structures should come up in the No Development Zone (NDZ) and if any new construction was detected then the Panchayat/ Municipality had to take immediate action in accordance with law.
- Panchayats and Municipalities were expected to file affidavits in the High Court by the 11th July 2008 indicating:
- Total number of structures in the 200 meters zone as per Maps provided.
- Number of structures found to be existing as of19/02/1991
- Number of structures to whom notices have been issued
- In view of the fact that the maps provided to the Panchayats were survey maps prepared by the Director of Settlement and Land records and were completed in 1974, the maps did not provide a basis for ascertaining whether the structures in the 0-200 meters NDZ were there before 1991.
- The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) who were requested to supply satellite maps overlaying cadastral maps as of 1990 informed that their maps were on a scale of 1:50,000. This was seen as an absurdly impossible resolution from which to identify structures.
- Requests made to GCZMA for satellite maps overlaying cadastral maps of 1990 were turned down on the ground that “this office does not have satellite maps overlaying cadastral maps for the year 1990…. However, satellite data pertaining to the year 1991 up to 2006 overlaid on cadastral map (one copy) was available for reference”.
The absence of adequate records and maps in the appropriate authorities made it difficult- even impossible- to meet the requirements of the High Court directive sent to coastal inhabitants through the various Panchayats.
Options explored on the basis of legal advice:
- The Sarpanch of each village which had been issued the directive from the High Court was encouraged to argue that they had no way of reasonably checking out the facts and claims of individuals unless they had the aerial maps of 1990 with a reasonable resolution- unlike the one which the NIO is able to offer them. (The GCZMA has the responsibility has the responsibility to provide such maps to the Panchayats and this was to be insisted on.)
- Since tax records e.g. house tax, boat tax, distillery tax, are not always – and no longer- available in the Panchayat offices, it should be necessary to assist people who do not have valid documents to prove their bonafides through reasonable affidavits and methods of certifying that their houses were in existence.
- People on the coast had often added extensions to their homes for reasons of common sense but without applying for legal licenses and/or permissions. In view of the fact that many, if not most, of these extensions do not violate eco-systems, they should be allowed to stand as is , with proviso only to pay a penalty and regularize the said illegality.
Application of extension of time for submission of requisite documents:
- Additionally, the Court should be requested for an extension of three months so that Panchayats can examine records, give occupants an opportunity for personal hearings, and verify from various sources the authenticity of structures said to be in existence before 1991.
- The Court should provide the requested extension to allow Panchayats to also allow a CRZ specialist from a reputed organization in the independent social sector to study each case of ‘illegality’ and make recommendations for the Panchayat to supports it s arguments and decisions.
- The Panchayats may hasten the collection of available records so that the new deadline being requested can be met.
- A uniform draft reply was prepared taking into account:
- The papers already submitted by any Panchayat to the Court or any other government authority.
- The ongoing debate and deliberations at Central government level on the CRZ-CMZ question.
- Constitutional obligations and provisions which are protective of coastal livelihoods and traditional rights.
Constitutional bases for the reply to the directive were identified and Sarpanchs were made aware of these bases so that they could brief their own lawyers. These provisions, it was felt, would make their case strong.
1. The supremacy of Self-governance
Panchayat bodies are local bodies enjoying the powers specified under Article 243 of the Constitution of India, Article 243-G(b) – provides the powers, authority and responsibilities of Panchayat pertaining to the implementation of schemes for economic development and social justice as may be entrusted to them including those on relation to the matters listed in the Eleventh Schedule.
Under Provisions of Article 243-G the legislature of the State may by law endow the Panchayat with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as institutions of self-government and these laws are not specified to be laid down by the legislature.
As provided in the 11th Schedule a whole range of subjects are included which can provide development and social justice to village communities. For example, with serial no 5 i.e. Fisheries and at serial no.10 i.e. Rural Housing – these are areas wherein the livelihood of the local community associated with fisheries and their dwelling abodes are protected. In both these cases—as in the case of a multiple range of welfare and development activities, the Panchayat body has powers to implement schemes that protect local livelihoods and rights. In substance, it can be argued that the Panchayats are empowered with powers to obtain social justice under the 11th schedule.
Serial No.29 of the 11th schedule also empowers the Panchayats to the maintenance of community assets such as water, lakes, coast etc. which ought to be enforced and maintained without restricting local rights of Housing. Housing is an integral part of life and livelihood. Just as a pavement dweller is entitled to protection, more so are the age-old traditional communities which form an integral part of the environment. The coast is not merely a geographical space. It has as its occupant’s people and nature and they have lived in perfect harmony until recent patterns of industrial development and the arrival of tourism.
Provides for the protection and improvement of environment and safeguard of forests and wild life and a duty is cast upon the state to endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the county
Article 51A (g) provides that the fundamental duty of every citizen ofIndia to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life and to have compassion for living creatures.
Article 39 of the Constitution of India, the mandate is to equally distribute the resources of the community best to serve the common good.
Article 21 – provides for protection of life and personal liberty. Article 21 also comprehends right to shelter.
The issues of CRZ-CZM are beginning to assume complex dimensions with the Central government assuming even more aggressive postures on tourism. In a recent announcement, the Central government has stated its intention to open up ‘beach tourism’ to visitors toIndiain a big way. The World Bank wantsIndiato open up and liberalize its tourism sector so that there can be foreign investment in the sector. There is a
Currently, CRT is working with HRLN in a litigation process which seeks to protect 108 individuals who have been served demolition notices to their houses in coastal villages and is also actively supporting 5 Panchayats in their attempt to protect their people from the High Court Orders that can leave nearly 12,000 people or more disadvantaged. Hearings are in process and with government help it is highly possible that we will win the sympathy of the High Court and establish the need to rethink their orders and
Opposing the MOEF’s draft CMZ notification
CRT also worked with seven Panchayats through mass awareness campaigns on the draft CMZ notification. CRT was s successful in getting all the Panchayats to adopt resolutions rejecting the MOEF’s proposals for a CMZ regime. CRT also lobbied with the State government and was instrumental in getting the Goa Assembly to unanimously oppose the CMZ proposals of the Central government. HRLN is also representing several panchayats which have decided to challenge High Court rulings on the understanding that entire community rights are at stake. These are all village panchayats with which CRT has been working
Identical resolutions were approved by Special Gram Sabhas convened to deal with the issue of the draft CMZ notification following village-level mass awareness campaigns by CRT in Calangute, Agonda, Cavelossim, Cansaulim, and Anjuna during September, 2008.
The resolutions stated:
“We the people of (_____________) resolve to oppose the DRAFT CMZ Notification, 2008 for the following reasons:
- 1. The CMZ Notification 2008 offers no real protection to the coasts. It has ignored many judicial orders and needs comprehensive review based on a consultative process at the level of coastal communities.
- 2. Wherever the earlier CRZ Notification, 1991 provided a clear regulation this CMZ notification provided an ‘ICZMP’ which has no deadline for completion. All clear restrictions are now replaced by broad and obscure guidelines incomprehensible to common making it more difficult for coastal and fisher people – largest stakeholders and custodians of our coastal resources to intervene or play a role here.
- 3. Livelihoods are not really safeguarded by this notification. The notification ushers in new players on the coast and in light of the newly proposed Resettlement and Rehabilitation Act and the new Land Acquisition Act; this has disastrous consequences for fishers, many of whom do not possess any land records even. Coastal Panchayats with more than 400 persons per sq km will now be declared as CMZ II areas. This means that many of the earlier CRZ III categories would now become CMZ II which doesn’t have a No Development Zone of 200m. This NDZ was created in the original CRZ Notification to ensure that only appropriate forms of development appropriate take place in these regions. By putting these areas under CMZ II, the precautionary principle and livelihood protection measures that were applicable to CRZ III areas (to restrict urbanization pressures and ensure livelihood security, rights and access of coastal communities) have been done away with.
- 4. The MoEF has shown its inability to resist development pressure in the preamble of this notification which modified in the so-called ‘amendment’ that allows ‘green field’ airports and the expansion and modernization of existing airports in coastal areas. Airports are not critical from a livelihood point of view and are known to have large impacts for environments particularly coastal environment.
- 5. The activities in this notification will be determined by setbacks which are based on human vulnerability. In densely populated areas, the precautionary principle needs to be demonstrably strong. No development projects should be allowed unless proven to be beneficial to the local people or proven to be environmentally benign. The current notification is regressive when compared to the CRZ -1991 version as it allows large scale development in all the zones.
- 6. The setback line is preferentially used in the cases of housing and settlements of coastal communities but not for other activities such as tourism and recreation facilities which have the same vulnerability as housing and settlements. There is no mechanism of transparency, accountability and participation when drawing up the setback line. This line is supposed to be based on the concept of vulnerability including both natural and man made hazards.
- 7. The objectives of this notification refer to ‘sustainable development’ through ‘sustainable coastal zone management practices’, based on ‘sound scientific principles’ and ‘sustainable livelihoods security’ and ‘conservation of ecologically and culturally significant coastal resources’, but the subsequent clauses contain no indication whatsoever of how these objectives will be achieved.
- 8. The notification allocates responsibilities to a range of agencies – the local authorities – village Panchayats, urban local bodies or other authorities, National and State Coastal Zone Management Authorities, state governments, a National Board for Sustainable Coastal Zone Management, scientific institutions and the central government itself. There is also no mention of an appellate system for disputes related to decisions taken by these authorities.
- 9. The proposed CZM Notification is different from the CRZ Notification, 1991 in that it contains absolutely no monitoring mechanism, except for stating that the SCZMAs are responsible for monitoring the ICZMPs but without any indication of how. Also, there are absolutely no procedures laid out for the clearance of projects mentioned in the notification. The proposed notification does not ensure any of its objectives of sustainable development or livelihoods or conservation.
- 10. Though the new notification has expanded the list of ecological sensitive areas from those in the CRZ Notification, there is no protection and conservation of CMZ I areas as they are no longer ‘no development zones’. The CRZ I areas under the CRZ Notification were initially defined as areas where no activities would be permitted. The proposed CMZ Notification builds on this regressive trend and establishes that various activities will be allowed in these sensitive ecosystems as long as they are recorded in the ‘Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plans’ (ICZMP). The definition, criteria, guidelines, methodology and scope of such ICZMPs are not elaborated in the notification and neither are there any rules or parameters for who should prepare ICZMPs.
The demand of the people of our village through the Panchayat is to bring in a process for coastal law-making through which a law is made that should result in a completely new legislation for land use on coasts in consultation with local self government, local communities and which protects the rights of local communities, their dwellings, and their livelihoods.”
Coastal clean up:
Towards a ‘People-Centered Beach Cleaning Programme in Goa
In collaboration with the Tourism department, CRT is implementing a Beach Cleaning Programme covering three areas in the North (the stretch Baga-Calangute-Candolim stretch) and the stretch from Arrosim to Colva (a total of nearly 15 kms of coastline). The project commenced in January 2009 and will carry on for the entire year. Originally, the Tourism department asked CRT to take up the work as a mere ‘beach cleaning’ project without any of the environmental dimensions being looked into. Following dialogue, CRT insisted that it could undertake the exercise only on condition that the project itself has wider dimensions including environmental awareness and based on community involvement.
At the moment, the project involves some 40 workers (all coastal inhabitants) for whom the work provides much needed additional income. It has also attracted volunteers and tourist support. Hopefully, it will grow into a programme of greater depth and increased dimensions in the next year.
With over 22 lakh tourists visiting Goa every year, Goa’s beaches face the challenge of having to cope with various sorts of garbage that are strewn all over the coastal areas. The impact of excess garbage is negative and has many hazardous effects forGoa– its coastal communities and the coastal ecology. It is argued that solid and liquid wastes have the potential to create rising sea levels. That, in turn, can easily set off storms, and waves, that can cause damage to properties and take lives.
Additionally, the high quantum of waste creates high health risks. The presence of a large number of stray dogs on beaches is a serious problem. Moreover, the accumulation of waste on the coasts raises a stench that discourages people from moving around freely and this can have an adverse effect on the number of visitors who might dropGoaas a preferred destination.
Garbage on the beach is a situation extremely dangerous to the health of the entire population as well as to visitors. If it continues,Goawill find itself in the position ofSuratin 1994 it was struck with a Plague epidemic – a disease from the Dark Ages. The vector is usually rat fleas, and as we all know, where there is garbage, there are rats. Other diseases also occur under such conditions, particularly when water sources are contaminated, none of them pleasant. In addition, numerous other problems have collected on the once beautiful beaches ofGoa. They are deemed as toxic and of a nature that can cause serious health damage.
Creating employment for the unemployed
A beach cleaning programme forGoacan well provide employment for young unemployed men and especially for women. By working for two hours in the early hours of the morning an hour at mid day during high season, and two hours towards late evening, a quick round up of the garbage can easily be managed.
By providing for hygienic hand gloves and masks, persons who are thus employed are secured from health risks and not only gain much needed supplementary income for their families, but also be engaged in an activity of great environmental importance.
Coastal Clean up Day
The plan seeks to engage students/NSS volunteers Scouts and Guides in a massive one-week exercise to maintain our shoreline and our status as the ‘Pearlof the Orient’. The Coastal Cleanup Day should seek to bring out thousands of students with the focus being on coastal protection and might also include planting vegetation that can enhance the coast. Youth involvement has the potential for lasting consciousness in young minds and sustainable beach management policies.
The Coastal Cleanup Day can be a hands-on interactive environmental experience, which is as enjoyable as it enhances beachside communities by promoting personal initiative, civic pride and environmental awareness. Through competition and awards, the program provides recognition to people who care for their community and coastal environment.
Management of waste materials
The beaches of Goa will be installed with waste disposal bins on the sand, which permit four types of selective waste collection – bio-degradable and non degradable waste. The four types of selective garbage collection will include paper, glass, containers and organic waste. The containers are to be kept in attractive and prominent colours such as yellow, green, brown and blue (coastal colours) and be well covered.
At information points, beach users may be given plastic ashtrays to dispose of cigarette butts, as well as dried fruit shells, chewing gum and other small waste products. Each shack should be mandated to maintain hygienic disposal bins and use their recyclable waste to vegetate the coastline.
Large sign boards in prominent places at the entrance to the beach, and in shacks, as well as using boards using bamboo and wood on the beach with creative slogans to darw attention to the need for preserving the cleanliness of the beach.
- The scientific community in Goa – institutions like the National Institute of Oceanography, and relevant departments of the University- would be involved in testing and analyzing quality of the sand and water.
- Concessions should be granted in respect of shacks based on sustainable criteria such as: the use of reusable glasses, the consumption of loose products, energy efficiency, in conjunction with credible environmental awareness campaigns for such things as the reuse of dirty water and the training of the bar staff in good environmental practice.
Shacks would be installed with a noise control device, in order to make the music compatible with the public who do not want noise, and to respect neighbours. Noise levels shouldbe adjusted for different times of the day and should be in consonanvce with the law. Shacks situated at less than 100 m from residential dwellings will be disallowed from loud music.
Every day, an ocean cleaning vessel, would collect floating solid litter up to the distance that users tend to swim and play in.
Each summer, the beaches of Goa would receive visits from – environmentalists and concerned citizens/community leaders, who carry out environmental informative and awareness tasks among users and perform visual inspections/audit of the services, with the aim of detecting any possible problems and to ensure rapid reversal of the problems. It is one thing to be able to predict when beach pollution levels are going to be high, but the better thing to do would be able to know what the source is so the problem can be fixed at the source.
This plan is not quite implemented as conceived because the Department of Tourism has failed to make good its share of commitment – financial – and to the content orientation. CRT continues its work despite the failed promises seeing how crucial the work itself is.
CRT researches and proposes Code of Ethics for Responsible Tourism
Tourism is too often seen merely as an arena where the rich meet their hedonistic pleasures. Self-indulgence is what often defines the tourist behaviour and practice. In a similar vein, the host of the tourist is blinded by the prospect of profit and goes all out to satisfy the every whim and fancy of the tourist. In the bargain, there are huge and lasting impacts – largely negative – that can affect the host community, their environment, the workers, the cultures, and the self-esteem of the visited.
This trend needs to be reversed and a paradigm shift in the patterns of tourism must be brought about to ensure that there is a mutuality about tourism. The questions uppermost in the minds of tourism planers and policy makers must be: Who benefits from tourism? What impacts does tourism have on local cultures, and the environment? Do the benefits of tourism get equitably distributed? Do the smaller sectors get justice in the economic relationships or are the gains cornered by the powerful entrepreneurs from within and outside?
In response to these questions and issues, CRT proposed a Model Code of conduct to local groups to be enforced in some concrete and measurable form so as to avoid the negative pitfalls from tourism.
The following were suggested codes as they apply to different sectors.
- 1. Code of Ethics for the Industry:
- Sustainable Tourism
- Commit to excellence in the quality of tourism and hospitality experiences provided to our clients through a motivated and caring staff
- Encourage an appreciation of and respect for, our natural cultural and aesthetic heritage among our clients, staff, and stakeholders, and within our communities
- Respect the values and aspirations of our host communities and strive to provide services and facilities in a manner which contributes to community identity, pride, aesthetics and the quality of life of residents
- Strive to achieve tourism development in a manner which harmonises economic objectives with the protection and enhancement of our natural, cultural and aesthetic heritage.
- Be efficient in the use of all natural resources, manage waste in an environmentally responsible manner, and strive to eliminate or minimise pollution in all its forms.
- Lobby for the tourism industry and other industries, towards the goal of sustainable development and an improved quality of life for all.
- Support tourists in their quest for a greater understanding and appreciation of nature and their neighbours in the global village.
Responsible Tourism in Destinations
- Shaping sustainable spaces into better places
- Minimize negative economic, environmental, and social impacts;
- Generate greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well-being of host communities, improves working conditions and access to the industry;
- Involve local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances;
- Make positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, to the maintenance of the world’s diversity
- Provide more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues;
- Provide access for physically challenged people;
- Culturally sensitivity engenders respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence.
Ethical Code for Tourists
- Urge tourists to discover their destination – get them to read about the cultural, social and political background of the place and people they are visiting.
- Compel them to pay fair prices – When they haggle for the lowest price their bargain is at someone else’s expense.
- Encourage them to be sensitive to local culture – dress and act in a way that respects local beliefs and customs, particularly at religious sites.
- Insist that they ask permission before taking photographs of individuals of people’s homes – and remind them that they may be expected to pay for the privilege.
- Remind them to ‘Open your mind to other cultures and traditions’ –
It will transform their experience, earn respect and be more readily welcomed by local people. Ensure they are tolerant and respect diversity – observe social and cultural traditions and practices.
- Combat the sexual exploitation of human beings, particularly the exploitation of children.
- Guiding Principles for Social Responsibility
- Actively involve the local community in planning and decision-making and provide capacity building to make this a reality.
- Assess social impacts throughout the life cycle of the operation – including the planning and design phases of projects – in order to minimize negative impacts and maximize positive ones.
- Endeavor to make tourism an inclusive social experience and to ensure that there is access for all, in particular vulnerable and disadvantaged communities and individuals.
Our work has also brought us in working contact with various sectors such as the Shack Owners, Taxi associations, vendors, Small and Medium Guest Houses and Hotels, and various other sub- sectors of tourism. These are the people who are the real engines of the tourism industry. Our intent is to work in solidarity with them to strengthen their capacities to be determinants and practitioners of responsible hospitality to the tourist. At the same time, it is our hope that we can to pursue policies and practices through which the economic benefits of tourism accrue to local communities first and last. These initiatives are described in detail later in this report.