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LDF walkout over Coastal Regulation Zone Act

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LDF walkout over Coastal Regulation Zone Act
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Thiruvananthapuram: CPI-M led LDF Opposition Wednesday staged a walkout from the Kerala Assembly to protest the government's refusal to hold a debate on the consequences faced by the fishermen's community due to the stringent rules in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Act.

Admitting that it was a serious issue, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy assured the House that 'impractical provisions in the Act' would be modified and the interests of fishermen would be protected.

Replying to the notice for an adjournment motion, he said the state government would convey to the Centre its concern over the Act.

Chandy said it was a fact that government was finding it difficult to go ahead with development activities, including housing schemes for fishermen in coastal areas, due to regulations in the Act.

Taking a dig at the LDF Opposition, he said the previous government had failed to express objection on the Act when the draft of CRZ was announced in October 2010.

However, former Fisheries Minister S Sarma, who sought leave for the motion, denied Chandy's charge and said the LDF government had then itself brought to the notice of Centre the state's concern.

He said the Act would result in eviction of fishermen living in coastal areas.

However, the Act was 'very lenient' towards the tourism sector and big resorts coming up in coastal areas without hindrance, Sarma pointed out.

Before the walkout, Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan said more than 11 lakh fishermen's families would be adversely affected due to the Act and demanded that the state government take immediate steps to assuage their feelings.

C Divakaran, CPI leader in the House, wanted government to pass a resolution, asking the Centre to withdraw the Act in the interest of fishermen's community.

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