Goans say a Big NO to Blue Flag Certification

The Narendra Modi government’s Blue Flag Certification programme for beaches for attracting more tourists has no takers in Goa with the fishermen and others lashing out against the move, which they allege would only destroy the pristine beauty of the coasts.

For the Goans, the Coastal Regulation Zone norms were more than enough for protecting the beaches. Instead of the Blue Flag Certification which could only lead to more destruction of the beaches, they want the strict implementation of the CRZ norms.

Already the Mumbai High Court in Goa has stayed the government’s notification of the Mariamar beach in Goa on a PIL.

Noting that the beaches in Goa were already well protected and were the best ones the world over, Goenchea Raponkarancho Ekvott general secretary and National Fishworkers Forum Vice Chairperson Olencio Simoes said “Goa never needs Blue Flag Certification. We only want the CRZ to be made more stringent.”

Talking to www.kadapuram.com, he said that the Blue Flag Certification would actually damage the coastal region. The Ministry of Environment had reduced the Non Development Zone in the CRZ norms to 10 meters from the earlier 100 metre for the Blue Flag registration. So how is that the beaches are going to be environmentally protected by reducing the non development zone and allowing constructions. It is going to be a death knell for the beaches,” he said.    

“What is the concept of Blue flag certification? It is said for improving the bio diversity, environment, marine environment and reduce water pollution and basically preserving the environment. As part o Blue Flag certification, more construction would take place in the beaches. There are plans for a pathway, toilet facilities, sewage plant and solid waste treatment facilities. Are our beaches or our environment going to be protected in this manner?” Olencio Simoes asked.

Noting that Goa already six world famous beaches, he said that all the beached had been attracting tourists for a very long time and there was no need for any further certification.

Moreover, he said that the CRZ was for protecting the coasts and why another certification that was against all the norms of the CRZ. “There should not be further dilution of CRZ. In the last monsoon season, we have seen ten to 15 metres of erosion. So if we again go for further destruction of the coast, it could be disastrous,” he said.

TRADITIONAL FISHERMEN AFFECTED

Olencio Simoes was also critical of the regulations that come along with the Blue Flag regulation. Pointing out that the livelihood of traditional fishermen would be badly affected, he said that fishermen were restricted from carrying out fishing in the beaches. “Our fishermen cast net within one nautical mile of the tide line. As per the Blue Flag Notification, the whole beach will be no movement zone for fishing activity in the beach and water, which the traditional farmers would be affected.

Stating that the new idea was only imitating western countries, he said that there were not many natural beaches in other countries and no fishermen community fished within one nautical mile. “The traditional fishermen are likely to pushed away from these beaches in the name of tourism, which is westernised type of tourism,’ he said. He also maintained that they were not against tourism and also up-keeping sustainable tourism but stated that it should not be by denying the rights of a particular community.  

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