Fishermen near Mumbai hoping for compensation for environmental damage

Published on
May 10, 2018

Fishermen residing in coastal areas around Mumbai have objected to infrastructure activities in the region, citing the potential loss of their livelihood.

Urbanization has caused environmental damages to fishing areas and had a negative impact on more than 1,600 families, local fisherman Ramdas Janardhan Koli told SeafoodSource. 

According to Koli, more than 250 hectares of land in Nhava Sheva, Uran, Dongri, and Thane have been damaged by a project launched by the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (CIDCO) that rerouted seawater in order to build or expand Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Navi Mumbai Special Economic Zone and other development projects designed to improve the region’s infrastructure.

“We use to catch crabs, shrimps, fish such as tilapia, sardine, and many varieties near the shore, but now the area is completely destroyed by CIDCO,” fisherman Tukaram J Koli told SeafoodSource. “These activities have completely destroyed our livelihood.”

Ramdas Janardhan Koli and others affected by the changes petitioned India’s National Green Tribunal, a government agency designed to adjudicate issues relating to environmental protection, for redress. The tribunal awarded compensation of INR 950 million (USD 14.21 million, EUR 11.86 million), to be split between the 1,630 affected families. In its decision, the tribunal ordered CIDCO and others to pay an immediate one-time compensation of INR 584,000 (USD 8,740, EUR 7,291) per family in order to sustain them in the short-term. However, the award has been appealed and is pending a ruling from India’s Supreme Court.

CIDCO declined comment to SeafoodSource, citing the case’s active status.

Koli said the award was given based on right enumerated under the Indian Easements Act of 1882, which grants broadly defined fishing rights to those who have historically used an area for their livelihood. 

Photo courtesy of the Hindustan Times

Reporting from Mumbai, India

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