//CHRO endorses Campaign against Special Tourism Zones (STZ) in Kerala

CHRO endorses Campaign against Special Tourism Zones (STZ) in Kerala

Kerala’s famous backwaters are getting polluted and ecological system is on the verge of serious concern due to non eco friendly usage of tourism resources.It expedites the spread of emerging viral outbreaks or insect borne diseases. The sufferers are common men. Falling sick has become a cause for one to be pushed into debts. CHRO ( Confederation of Human Rights Organizations, Kerala ) is hereby endorses its solidarity with “Forum Kerala” ‘s Campaign against Special Tourism Zones in Kerala.

We request all concerned Green activists in the state to support Forum Kerala’s campaign.

Dear friends and colleagues,  
The Kerala Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan recently announced  that the creation of Special Tourism Zones (STZ) would be considered if private parties having large tracts of land approach the State  Government. He also declared that government would change the rules relating to acquisition of land for tourism projects in the State.  
The government’s plan to announce STZs in Kerala has to be challenged because it will augment the pressure over the natural and other resources such as land, water, forests and will lead to environmental  destruction, revenue losses and lack of real economic development of the state, breakdown of governance systems especially of the Panchayats with the creation of enclaves and lack of equal and non-exploitative employment opportunities for local communities in STZs.  
Now Kerala Tourism seems to be using “Responsible Tourism” for it’s marketing, especially in the UK market. The recent workshop organised  by Kerala Tourism mainly dealt with the responsibility of various  stakeholders in further development of tourism within the state. But  at the same time, they became mute on issues such as the constitutional rights of the Panchayat Raj Institutions, Coastal  Regulation Zone (CRZ) violations by hotels and resorts, backwater pollution by the houseboats and tourism industry and various social issues. Who is responsible for these damages? And for effectively addressing these problems?  
The need of the hour is the proactive involvement of the civil society against these malpractices. We request you to support our call for a larger debate on the true nature of tourism development in the state, on its questionable economic contributions and its negative impacts upon vulnerable communities and Kerala’s fragile environment.  
If you can agree with the points we raised in our letter to the Chief Minister (attached),  please get back to us by 25th Feb. (Please  E-mail your endorsement to   [email protected]… ) and  by signing the letter, support it as it is. Or if you do not agree  with all the points or want to raise additional points of your own, additional initiatives supporting the cause are also welcome.  
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About Forum KERALA 

The Forum KERALA, a platform of civil society movements, people’s groups and individuals who are sharing a common vision and mission  related to Kerala Society – its developmental, environmental, social-cultural and political issues – at various levels. The Forum  will take up research, campaign and mobilisation.  We hope this will facilitate a creative space for the civil society groups and concerned  individuals to come together and working for a better future.

Forum  KERALA  
For more details please contact:  Forum KERALA, C/o TC 354,  Muttada.P.O, Thiruvananthapuram 25, Kerala.  
Phone Numbers: Ajayan – 9895007171, Anivar Aravind – 9446545336,  
Santhosh Kumar  K.C. – 9447375708, Sumesh Mangalassery – 9388402948   
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In solidarity,
Dr. Abdul Salam, Secretary, CHRO, Kearla,