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Coastal Regulation Zones

Coastal Regulation Zones

Introduction

  • The coastal areas of seas, bays, creeks, rivers, and backwaters which get influenced by tides up to 500 m from the high tide line (HTL) and the land between the low tide line (LTL) and the high tide line have been declared as coastal regulation zone (CRZ) in 1991.
  • The coastal regulation zones have been declared by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate change under the Environment Protection Act 1986.
  • While the CRZ Rules are made by the Union environment ministry, implementation is to be ensured by state governments through their Coastal Zone Management Authorities.

What are CRZ norms?

  • In India, the CRZ Rules govern human and industrial activity close to the coastline, in order to protect the fragile ecosystems near the sea.
  • They restrict certain kinds of activities — like large constructions, setting up of new industries, storage or disposal of hazardous material, mining, reclamation and bunding — within a certain distance from the coastline.
  • After the passing of the Environment Protection Act in 1986, CRZ Rules were first framed in 1991.
  • After these were found to be restrictive, the Centre notified new Rules in 2011, which also included exemptions for the construction of the Navi Mumbai airport and for projects of the Department of Atomic Energy.
  • In 2018, fresh Rules were issued, which aimed to remove certain restrictions on building, streamlined the clearance process, and aimed to encourage tourism in coastal areas.
  • While the CRZ Rules are made by the Union environment ministry, implementation is to be ensured by state governments through their Coastal Zone Management Authorities.

Importance of Regulation of Coastal Zones

  • To balance development with conservation of the coastal environment
  • Protection of ecologically Sensitive Areas like mangroves, coral reefs which act as a shield against tsunami and cyclone
  • Improving the lives of coastal communities like fishing communities
  • Resilient measures for mitigating impacts of Climate Change and high-intensity Cyclones

Categories of Coastal Regulation Zones

  • CRZ along the country has been placed in four categories depending on their land use and regulated developmental activities in the areas:
  • CRZ-1: It is the ecologically sensitive area that is essential for maintaining the ecosystem of the coast. It lies between low and high tide line and includes the areas like mangroves, coral reefs and sand dunes. It was off-limits for tourism activities and infrastructure development, except for defence, strategic and rare public utility projects.
  • 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: It includes the shallow belt of coastal waters extending up to 12 nautical miles. It is a crucial fishing zone for small fishers.

Ecologically sensitive areas (ESA) given Special Dispensations under CRZ 2011

  • Sunderbans, Gulf of Khambat and Gulf of Kutch, Malvan, Achra-Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, Karwar and Coondapur in Karnataka, Vembanad in Kerala, Bhaitarkanika in Orissa, Coringa in East Godavari and Krishna in Andhra Pradesh would be declared as Critical Vulnerable Coastal Areas (CVCA) and the integrated management plan would be prepared for each of these areas in consultation with the local communities.
  • Beaches such as Mandrem, Morjim, Galgiba and Agonda in Goa have been designated as turtle nesting sites and protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • No developmental activities shall be permitted in these areas.

Shailesh Nayak Committee Report on Coastal Regulation Zone

  • Shailesh Nayak committee was constituted in June 2014, and it submitted its report in January 2015.
  • The committee recommended relaxation on the terms set up by the CRZ 2011 notification. The major objective behind the recommendations was to boost tourism, port construction and real estate.
  • The committee suggested diluting the regulatory powers of the Central Government in the coastal areas. Except for those activities which require environmental clearances all other activity should fall under the ambit of state and local planning bodies.               Coastal Regulation Zones
  • Based on the recommendations of Shailesh Nayak committee, the suggestions were given by the coastal states and union territories, and the CRZ 2018 notifications were issued.

CRZ Regulations 2019

  • The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has notified the 2019 Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms, replacing the existing CRZ norms of 2011.
  • The new CRZ norms have been issued under Section 3 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986.
  • The new CRZ norms aim to promote sustainable development based on scientific principles.

Objective of CRZ Regulations 2019

  • To promote sustainable development based on scientific principles taking into account the natural hazards such as increasing sea levels due to global warming.
  • 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.

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.
  • 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.
  • Floor Space Index Norms eased: As per CRZ, 2011 Notification, the Floor Space Index (FSI) or the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) had been frozen. As per the latest notification, the government has decided to de-freeze the Floor Space Index and permit FSI for construction projects.
  • No Development Zone of 20 meters for all Islands: For islands close to the main land 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Khambat and Gulf of Kutchh in Gujarat, Achra-Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, Karwar and Coondapur in Karnataka, Vembanad in Kerala, Gulf of Mannar in Tamil Nadu, Bhaitarkanika in Odisha and Krishna in Andhra Pradesh are treated as Critical Vulnerable Coastal Areas. These Critical Vulnerable Coastal Areas will be managed with the involvement of coastal communities including fisher folk.
  • Pollution abatement: To address pollution in Coastal areas, the treatment facilities have been made permissible in CRZ-I B area subject to necessary safeguards.        Coastal Regulation Zones

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