Draft Coastal Regulation Zone,2018
- January 26, 2019, 10:22 am
Draft Coastal Regulation Zone,2018
The draft Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), 2018, which was released by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) last week, has the potential to change the way coastal stretches which runs over 7,500 kilometres in India are governed.
What are Coastal Regulation Zones?
Under the Environment Protection Act, 1986 of India, notification was issued in February 1991, for regulation of activities in the coastal area by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). As per the notification, the coastal land up to 500m from the High Tide Line (HTL) and a stage of 100m along banks of creeks, estuaries, backwater and rivers subject to tidal fluctuations, is called the Coastal Regulation Zone(CRZ). CRZ along the country has been placed in four categories. The above notification includes only the intertidal zone and land part of the coastal area and does not include the ocean part. The notification imposed restriction on the setting up and expansion of industries etc. in the said CRZ. Under this coastal areas have been classified as CRZ-1, CRZ-2, CRZ-3, CRZ-4.
- CRZ-1: These are ecologically sensitive areas these are essential in maintaining the ecosystem of the coast. They lie between low and high tide line. Exploration of natural gas and extraction of salt are permitted
- CRZ-2: These areas form up to the shoreline of the coast. Unauthorised structures are not allowed to construct in this zone.
- CRZ-3: rural and urban localities which fall outside the 1 and 2. Only certain activities related to agriculture even some public facilities are allowed in this zone
- CRZ-4: this lies in the aquatic area up to territorial limits. Fishing and allied activities are permitted in this zone. Solid waste should be let off in this zone. This zone has been changed from 1991 notification, which covered coastal stretches in islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep
The MoEF has notified new guidelines as of Jan 2019 modifying the old ones. The aim is “conserve and protect the unique environment of coastal stretches and marine areas, besides livelihood security to the fisher communities and other local communities in the coastal areas and to promote sustainable development based on scientific principles taking into account the dangers of natural hazards, sea level rise due to global warming”
Salient Features of CRZ Regulations 2019
Two separate categories for CRZ-III (Rural) areas
• CRZ-III A: The A category of CRZ-III areas are densely populated rural areas with a population density of 2161 per square kilometre as per 2011 Census. Such areas have a No Development Zone (NDZ) of 50 meters from the High Tide Line (HTL) as against 200 meters from the High Tide Line stipulated in the CRZ Notification, 2011.
• CRZ-III B – The B category of CRZ-III rural areas have population density of below 2161 per square kilometre as per 2011 Census. Such areas have a No Development Zone of 200 meters from the HTL.
Floor Space Index Norms eased
• As per CRZ, 2011 Notification, the Floor Space Index (FSI) or the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) had been frozen.
• In the CRZ 2019 Notification, the government decided to de-freeze the Floor Space Index and permit FSI for construction projects.
Tourism infrastructure permitted in coastal areas
• The new norms permit temporary tourism facilities such as shacks, toilet blocks, change rooms, drinking water facilities, etc. in Beaches.
Streamlining of CRZ Clearances
• The procedure for CRZ clearances has been streamlined. Now, the only such projects which are located in the CRZ-I (Ecologically Sensitive Areas) and CRZ IV (area covered between Low Tide Line and 12 Nautical Miles seaward) will be dealt with for CRZ clearance by the Ministry.
• The powers for clearances with respect to CRZ-II and III have been delegated at the State level.
No Development Zone of 20 meters for all Islands
• For islands close to the mainland coast and for all Backwater Islands in the main land, No Development Zone of 20 meters has been stipulated in wake of space limitations and unique geography of such regions.
• To address pollution in Coastal areas, the treatment facilities have been made permissible in CRZ-I B area subject to necessary safeguards.
Critically Vulnerable Coastal Areas (CVCA)
• Sundarban region of West Bengal and other ecologically sensitive areas identified as under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 such as Gulf of Khambhat and Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat, Achra-Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, Karwar and Kundapur in Karnataka, Vembanad in Kerala, Gulf of Mannar in Tamil Nadu, Bhitarkanika in Odisha and Krishna in Andhra Pradesh are treated as Critical Vulnerable Coastal Areas.
• The norms also seek to conserve and protect the environment of coastal stretches and marine areas, besides livelihood security to the fisher communities and other local communities in the coastal area
The hazard line, which was demarcated by the Survey of India (SOI), has been delinked from the CRZ regulatory regime, and will now be used as a “tool” for disaster management and planning of “adaptive and mitigation measures”. Meaning_The new notification takes away the protection that the hazard line could provide, instead, it merely states that the hazard line should be used as a tool for disaster management. This means that one can build in these areas after preparing an environment assessment report stating that certain precautions have been considered.
The draft also allows for construction of roads and roads on stilts, “by way of reclamation in CRZ-1 areas”, only in exceptional cases for “defence, strategic purposes and public utilities,” to be recommended by the CZMA and approved by the Ministry. However, it does not explicitly state what strategic projects are.
Interestingly, it notes that in cases where roads are constructed through mangroves or are likely to damage the latter, “a minimum three times the mangrove area affected/ destroyed/ cut during the construction,shall be taken up for compensatory plantation”
The National Green Tribunal has noted that it has been seven years since the deadline set by the 2011 notification to submit CZMPs to the MoEF has passed. Several states have held public hearings in this regard. While Maharashtra has requested an extension, the public hearing in Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu was forcibly cancelled last week due to opposition from fisherfolk.The dilutions introduced by the new draft will also affect customary land use and traditional land rights