A Network of Volunatary Action Group In Gujarat
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  Issues in Gujarat

Coastal Communities

The length of the coastal belt of Gujarat state is 1659 km which constitutes more than 1/3 rd but less than 1/4 th of the total coastal belt of India .

It is also benefited with two unique gulfs i.e. Gulf of Kutch (well known fossils for and under currents) & Gulf of Khambhat (world famous for natural pearl). Also marine life Data available from 'Survey of India'. According to marine archeologist Mr. Sr. R. Rao, once upon a time, Saurastra and Kutch are two different plates, which over the years, merged together. In this process, lot of forests must have buried which are now found in the form of fossils. This also gives the possibility of having oil well underneath this region a long the coast from Dwarka to Jamnagar is very much prosperous, diverse and some of the rare coral reefs are found here. Though marine researchers from all over the world are attracted towards Gujarat coast, it is so unfortunate that there is no research institute for Marine Ecology in Gujarat .

Along the costal belt of Gujarat there are 41 ports which has potential to carryout 40% of the total import - export business of the state.

Gujarat has highest fish catch. But Gujarat mainstream culture has always sidelined costal culture, which in turn has affected its development. The communities depending on sea for their livelihood earnings have remained vulnerable. The only Fisheries College located in Gujarat is CFSC at Veraval.

There are lacks of families engaged in fisheries, salt production, transport and processing industries, which live in vulnerable conditions. Also small and marginal farmers along the coastal areas are experiencing major challenges due to developments along the coast.

Till 1991, 92% of the economic investments have been done in main land Gujarat while 6% on the coastal belt and 2% in the tribal belt. Since 1995 there has been a sudden shift, with 28% investments being done in the coastal belt. With the opening up of the economy the importance of the coastal belt of Gujarat is increasing, as it serves major portion of North Indian regions. This will lead to greater investment in infrastructure and industrial development in the coastal regions of the state.

The establishment of industrial units without addressing the issues of environment degradation and ecological imbalance is becoming a major issue of concern.

This has put tremendous pressure on natural resources along the coast, leading to economic and physical eviction through market forces of the poorer communities

(For instance, in Kutch due to expansion of Mundra port, thousand of families are facing the danger of being displaced)

These in turn are closely related with issues of basic human rights of life and livelihood of large sections of low-income families along the coast.

There are two significant people's movements, 'Kinara Bachao Andolan', Umargaon and 'Okha Mandal Bachao Andolan', Dwarka against the challenges of globalization. But in view of the enormity of the problems such efforts need to be further expanded and strengthened to cover larger geographical areas and more people.

1 Data available from 'Survey of India'.

2 According to marine archeologist Mr. Sr. R. Rao, once upon a time, Saurastra and Kutch are two different plates, which over the years, merged together. In this process, lot of forests must have buried which are now found in the form of fossils. This also gives the possibility of having oil well underneath this region.