The Draft Coastal Regulation Zone 2018

-Ipsita Mishra

The draft Coastal Regulation Zone 2018, which was released by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, has the potential to change the way coastal stretches in India are governed.The new draft aims to conserve and protect the unique environment of coastal stretch. The livelihood of fishermen communities will be protected along with sustainable development on scientific principles to look into dangers of natural hazards.

Salient Features:

New Coastal Regulation Zone Rules proposedeco-tourism activities subject to permissions.

No Development Zone Reduced For CRZ-III (Rural) areas, two separate categories have now been stipulated as below:

(a) CRZ-III A – These are densely populated rural areas with a population density of 2161 per square kilometre as per 2011 Census. Such areas shall have a No Development Zone (NDZ) of 50 meters from the HTL as against 200 meters from the High Tide Line stipulated in the CRZ Notification, 2011.

(b) CRZ-III B – Rural areas with population density of below 2161 per square kilometre as per 2011 Census. Such areas shall continue to have an NDZ of 200 meters from the HTL. FSI Norms Eased As per CRZ, 2011 Notification, for CRZ-II (Urban) areas, Floor Space Index (FSI) or the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) had been frozen as per 1991 Development Control Regulation (DCR) levels. In the CRZ, 2019 Notification, it has been decided to de-freeze the same and permit FSI for construction projects, as prevailing on the date of the new Notification. Tourism infrastructure is permitted in beaches. However, a minimum distance of 10 m from HTL should be maintained for setting up of such facilities.

In order to address pollution in Coastal areas treatment facilities have been made permissible activities in CRZ-I B area subject to necessary safeguards. The Notification contains provisions for defence and strategic projects. Critically Vulnerable Coastal Areas are managed well with the involvement of coastal communities including fisher folk.

No Development Zone (NDZ) of 20 meters for all Islands is the new rule.

Only such activities, which are located in the CRZ-I (Ecologically Sensitive Areas) and CRZ IV (area covered between Low Tide Line and 12 Nautical Miles seaward) shall be dealt with for CRZ clearance by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The powers for clearances with respect to CRZ-II and III have been delegated at the State level with necessary guidance.

The relaxations/ amendment proposed in the CRZ notification, shall come into effect only after respective CZMPs that were to be framed under the previous CRZ notification, have been revised or updated by the states/UTs and approved by the Ministry.

Way ahead:

It does not explicitly state what strategic projects are. Environmentalists had alleged that the notification will open up fragile intertidal areas to real estate agents and it was framed with the intent to favor large-scale industry at the cost of fishing communities. The new draft proposes to de-freeze the same and permit FSI for construction projects as prevailing on the date of the new notification.The new draft will boost tourism development andbenefit coastal communities. But fears still persist that even though the changes are being camouflaged as pro-poor and pro-tourism, the concerns of the latter will override those of communities.