Activists Urge for More Openness in Green Policy Drafting

8 June 2012. CHENNAI – Thirty-eight environmental and social organisations from across Tamil Nadu have expressed their disappointment with the Department of Environment’s lack of seriousness and consultation in drafting the State Environmental Policy. The fact that a draft outline of the policy note was on the Department of Environment’s website for public comments came to light only on 5 June through a newspaper article, they said. The deadline for submission of comments is 9 June. Even this draft is in English, thereby denying the Tamil-speaking majority, including many of our elected representatives, an opportunity to influence the policy.

The activists said they welcome the Government’s initiative to draft an environmental policy. However, an environmental policy for a rapidly industrialising state needs to actively seek out the concerns of affected people, they said. Passive and elite consultation through the internet reflects poorly on the transparency ideals professed by the State Government.

The first meeting to develop the outline was held on 5 April in GRT Grand Hotel. The “Record of Discussions” uploaded to the website contains a list of “core group” members to “finalise the Tamilnadu State Environment Policy.” Activists have faulted the Department of Environment for including only industry representatives in the “core group” calling it a conflict of interest. No NGOs or social activists were involved in the drafting of the outline.

The activists have urged the Department of Environment to translate the policy outline in Tamil, extend the deadline for comments by at least two months, and conduct widespread consultations, at least at district level, among farmers, fisherfolk, workers and other public interest citizen groups. They have called for removal of industry representatives from the core committee, and inclusion of eminent leaders and people’s representatives with a proven track record of protecting the environment in their place.

For more information, contact: Nityanand Jayaraman — 9444082401

Statement by:


South Indian Fishworkers Welfare Association (Then India Meenavar Nala Sangam)

Tamil Nadu Fisher People’s Association (Tamilnadu Meenava Makkal Sangam)

Tamil Nadu Fisherfolk Development Association (Tamilnadu Meenava Munnetra Sangam)

All India Fisherfolk Traditional Association (Akhila India Meenava Parampara Sangam)

Indian Fisherfolk Association (India Meenava Sangam)

Nochikuppam Fisherfolk Livelihood Organisation (Nocchikuppam Meenava Vazhvurimai Iyakkam)

Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation

People Union for Civil Liberties – Tamil Nadu & Pondicherry

Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives


Poovulgain Nanbargal

The Other Media

Save Chennai Beaches

Reclaim Our Beaches

Save Tamils Movement



Save Coimbatore Wetlands

Discover Wild Foundation

Nature Conservation Society


Environmental Conservation Group






SIPCOT Area Community Environmental Monitors


Tamizhaga Nadigal Padhukappu Koottamaippu

Tamil Nadu Environment Council

CEDA Trust


Tamil Nadu Fisherpeople’s Federation


Coastal Action Network


Nilgiris Wildlife and Environmental Association


Speak Out Salem

Salem Citizens Forum

Tamil Nadu Green Movement

Tamil Nadu People’s Right Movement, Salem

Kanjamalai Padhukappu Iyakkam

Mettur Padhukappu Iyakkam


All India Fisherfolk Federation, Thoothukudi

Veeranganai Penngal Iyakkam