Around 18 cases of victims from 6 Districts (Ramanathapuram, Pudhukottai, Thiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Kancheepuram) who have faced impacts of Shrimp Industries deposed before the juries. Nearly 600 people including Assistant Director of Fisheries and other Government Officials from all the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu participated in this Public Hearing
This Public Hearing received wide media coverage in both visual and print media. The Report of this public hearing has been completed and the Jury would submit this report about the proliferating Shrimp Industries and its impact in the Coastal districts of Tamil Nadu to the Supreme Court.
The directions of the Supreme Court verdict in W.P.No.561/94 clearly states that,
- The Central Government shall constitute an authority under section 3(3) of the Environment (Protection) Act. 1986 and shall confer on the said authority all the powers necessary to protect the ecologically fragile coastal areas, sea shore, water front and other coastal areas and specially to deal with the situation created by the shrimp culture industry in the coastal states, union territories.
- The authority so constituted by the Central Government shall implement “the Precautionary Principle” and “the Polluter pays” principles.
- No shrimp culture pond can be constructed or set up within the coastal regulation zone as defined in the CRZ Notification. This shall be applicable to all seas, bays, estuaries, creeks, rivers and backwaters.
- The agricultural lands, salt pan lands, mangroves, wet lands, forest lands, land for village common purposes and the land meant for public purposes shall not be used/converted for construction of shrimp culture ponds.
- No Aquaculture industry/shrimp culture industries / shrimp culture ponds shall be constructed / set up within 1000 metres of Chilika Lake and Pulicat lake (including Bird Sanctuaries namely Yadurapattu and Nelapattu.)
The Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act 2005 was enacted in the parliament and the Coastal Aquaculture Authority was constituted to implement the above said directions of the verdict in W.P.No.561/94. I am reported that this authority constituted is functioning as a licensing agent rather than implementing the directions.
The Shrimp Industries are reported to violate the Supreme Court directions, the categories of which are listed below:
- Violation of CRZ I, III.
- Conversion of agricultural lands & common lands, common land, water bodies / homesteads.
- Salinisation of groundwater, drinking water and lands.
- Destruction of wet lands, coastal water bodies, storm water drains.
- Decline in fish production.
- Displacement of communities
- Exploitation of surface water and backwater
- Human rights violations.
- Pumping of effluents into waterfront