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Sunday, November 7, 2010

CRZ Coastal Regulation Zone:Kerala: The proposal of 50 metre no development zone along all backwater islands..yet to be implemented.

PROPOSED COASTAL REGULATION ZONE (CRZ) AMENDMENTS, 2010
PREAMBLE
THE MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND FORESTS PROPOSES TO ISSUE THE
COASTAL REGULATION ZONE NOTIFICATION 2010. 

DISCUSSION PAPER ON COASTAL REGULATION ZONE 2010
India’s coastline, which runs for 7,500kms, is inhabited by approximately 25% of our
population. Almost all of these individuals live within 50kms of the shoreline. This includes
10 million fisherfolk who depend directly on the sea for their livelihood.
Keeping in view the importance of the coastal environment and the need to protect the
coastal ecosystems from the pressures of developmental activities, the Ministry had issued
the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 1991 under the Environment (Protection)
Act, 1986.
This notification, which is still in force, seeks to protect and regulate the use of the land
within 500mts of the coast and 100mts along the tidal influenced water bodies. All
developmental activities proposed to be located in this zone are regulated under the
Notification. It classifies the coastal stretch of the country into CRZ-I (ecologically sensitive
areas), CRZ-II (built up municipal areas), CRZ-III (rural areas) and CRZ-IV (Islands of
Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar).
The Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 1991 has been amended almost 25 times since its
promulgation. Further, several State Governments and other stakeholders have expressed
difficulties in implementing the provisions of the CRZ Notification, 1991.
In order to examine the issues of implementation of the 1991 Notification the Ministry
constituted an Expert Committee under the Chairmanship of Prof. M. S. Swaminathan in
2004. The Committee submitted its Report in February, 2005. The main recommendation of
this Committee was to issue the draft Coastal Management Zone (CMZ) Notification, 2008
to replace the 1991 Notification.
However the draft CMZ Notification, 2008 attracted a large number of representations
especially from the fisherfolk and the local communities. In order to examine the issues
raised in these representations, the Ministry constituted another four-member Committee
under the Chairmanship of Prof. MS Swaminathan in June of 2009. The Report of the
Committee titled “Final Frontier” [and available on the website www.moef.nic.in] was
received in the Ministry on 16th July, 2009 and was accepted by the Government. The major
recommendation of the Report was to let the draft CMZ Notification of 2008 lapse and
instead strengthen the CRZ Notification of 1991.
In keeping with the above, the MoEF has proposed to take steps for strengthening the CRZ
Notification, 1991 in light of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee report
and the outcome of the consultation process carried out by CEE which includes
amending/deleting/inserting certain provisions in the existing notification.

SUMMARY OF PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE CRZ NOTIFICATION 1991

The following are proposed in the draft CRZ Amendment Notification of 2010.

I. Inclusion of Aquatic Part: The 1991 Notification does not include the aquatic part
in its jurisdiction. Recognizing the importance of the aquatic area in maintaining the
functional integrity including the biodiversity in the coastal areas and waters, the
aquatic part i.e., sea area upto 12 nautical miles and the water area of ‘tidal influenced
water bodies’ shall be included.

II. Hazard Mapping Mechanism to be revised: The 1991 Notification does not
take into account the coastal hazards including impacts of sea level rise. The hazard
mapping based on tides, waves, sea level rise and shoreline change shall be included
and provisions to provide adequate safeguards to infrastructures and habitations of
local communities incorporated.

III. Preparation of Action Plans: The 1991 Notification does not lay down adequate
measures for the control of pollution. The State and UT Governments shall be
directed to prepare an Action Plan to mitigate discharge of untreated waste, effluents,
sewage including solid waste in a time bound manner. Necessary budget to deal with
pollution related activities shall be provided by the State/UT Government. The Action
Plan shall be prepared within six months and submitted to Ministry and after
obtaining approval from MoEF, it shall be implemented. CPCB shall monitor the
implementation.

IV. Classification of Erosion-Prone Areas: The 1991 Notification does not provide
for restrictions on port development and other foreshore developmental activities
along the coasts which are erosion prone. Majority of the erosion being caused is due
to anthropogenic activities. Keeping in view this irreversible damage to the coast, a
provision shall be incorporated in the Notification which will provide for classifying
the coastal stretches into “high erosion areas”, “medium erosion area” and “low or
stable coast”. No projects would be permitted in the high erosion prone areas, while,
in the medium erosion prone areas comprehensive EIA shall be stipulated.

V. New Classification Scheme: The CRZ Notification has four classifications [CRZ-I
(ecologically sensitive areas), CRZ-II (built up municipal areas) CRZ-III (rural areas)
and CRZ-IV (Islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar)]. The amendments
will re-classify the same as CRZ-I (ecologically sensitive areas), CRZ -II (built up
municipal areas), CRZ-III (rural areas), CRZ-IV (aquatic area) and CRZ-V (areas
requiring special consideration). For the islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman &
Nicobar a special dispensation has been provided in a draft ‘Island Protection Zone
Notification (March) 2010’ (currently inviting suggestions and objections).

VI. Special Cases: The CRZ notification provides for the uniform regulation of the
entire country irrespective of the diversity, socio economic conditions, developmental
pressures etc. However, it is proposed, in light of xertain special circumstances, to
provide special consideration for the following
i.Greater Mumbai and Navi Mumbai – Mumbai and Navi Mumbai are one of
the most thickly populated coastal areas. The coastal stretch is under tremendous
pressure due to various developmental activities. A sizable population of Mumbai
and Navi Mumbai live in slums abutting the coastal stretches. These slums are
not only polluting the environment but are also at great risk from being so close
to the shoreline. About 136 slums areas exist within 500 mts from the coast.
Mumbai and Navi Mumbai also have good mangrove areas along the coastal
stretches which act as a green buffer. Further, almost the entire city sewage
including effluents from industrial units are let out into the creeks and the sea. In
view of the above issues, Mumbai and Navi Mumbai require a special
dispensation. As recommended in the Swaminathan Committee Report, the new
CRZ shall provide for redevelopment of specified buildings in some specified
areas. The Private-developer based building projects in CRZ areas shall be
considered subject to providing public finance for housing.
ii. KeralaKerala has one of the most unique coastal environments wherein more
than 300 islands are located within its backwaters. Most of these islands/narrow
land strips such as Maruvkad, Challakadavu, Kandakadavu, Puthanthode,
Kannamaly, Cheriyakadavu and Kattiparambil are thickly populated. The
population density along the coastal areas is around 2,150 persons per sq kms.
These islands have been classified as CRZ-I or CRZ-III as per which no
development can be taken up in case of CRZ-I and in case of CRZ-III between 0-
200mts, it is a ‘No Development Zone’. The entire local communities living in
such areas have been requesting the State and the MoEF to provide relaxation to
take up construction of dwelling units. There are several court cases pending in
this regard. In view of the above difficulties and keeping in view the unique
geographical area of Kerala a special dispensation for coastal stretches of Kerala
is proposed to be provided which will include a 50m ‘No Development Zone’
along all backwater islands.
iii. Sunderbans and other ecologically important areas – Sunderbans is
one of the largest mangrove areas in the country with an approximate population
of 5 lakhs living within the biosphere. Sunderbans is being affected by the sea
level rise. Further, the local communities face hardship due to lack of
infrastructure facilities. An integrated management plan is proposed to be drawn
up for Sunderbans and such ecologically important areas such as Gulf of Khambat
and Gulf of Kutchchh in Gujarat, Malvan, Vasasi- Manori in Maharashtra, Achra-
Ratnagiri, Karwar and Coondapur in Karnataka, Vembanad in Kerala,
Bhaitarkanika in Orissa, Coringam, East Godavari and Krishna in Andhra
Pradesh . These areas would be declared as Critical Vulnerable Coastal Areas
(CVCA) for which an integrated management plan prepared with the consultation
of local communities
iv. Goa –The state of Goa is divided into three divisions, the coastal plain, mid
upland region and Western Ghats. The upland region close to the Western Ghats
are currently occupied by the mining activities, whereas the entire Western Ghats
region is identified as one of the Biodiversity hotspot areas and protected under
the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. Therefore, separate Goa state specific provisions
with stringent regulatory mechanism for sustainable development and ecological
protection of coastal areas are to be formulated. The traditional occupation of the
population living along the coast is mainly the fishing and allied activities. These
fishing communities require basic infrastructure facilities for their livelihood.

VII. Special Dispensation to certain Biosphere Reserves: The biosphere reserves
such as Sunderbans, Chilka, Gulf of Mannar, Peechavaram, Bhitarkanika etc., have
sizable local population living within such biospheres. The 1991 Notification
restricted all developments in such areas as these biospheres are classified as CRZI(
i). Special dispensation has been given to Sunderbans alone for certain basic
infrastructure facilities. This dispensation would now be provided to other biosphere
reserves also.
VIII. Construction of stilt roads to protect Mangroves in Mumbai: In some of the
urban areas classified as CRZ-II, there is large mangrove growth especially in
Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Goa etc. Due to expansion of the urban infrastructure these
mangroves are systematically being destroyed especially for laying of peripheral
roads or missing links. The amendments will provide for construction of roads on
stilts over the mangroves that would not affect the growth of the mangroves and the
tidal flow as well. However, no benefit of CRZ-II shall accrue on the landward side of
such roads.
IX. Deadlines for Grant of Clearance: The CRZ Notification does not lay down
procedures for clearance of permissible activities. This is causing hardship to the
people/project authorities. Further, no time period is stipulated for clearance. To
address this issue, procedures have been drawn up and list of documents,
studies/report, maps and the forms that need to be filled for obtaining clearance shall
be indicated. A fixed time lines shall be provided for considering the project by the
State Coastal Zone Management Authority which is forty five days after receipt of all
the information and thereafter, sixty days for MoEF/State Government to accord
clearance.
X. Clearance process to be harmonised with EIA 2006 standards: Under the
1991 Notification housing projects less than Rs.5 crores are accorded clearance at the
State level and more than Rs.5 crores from MoEF. This has no scientific basis. The
new regulation will follow the same procedure as followed under the EIA 2006 i.e.,
housing projects of more than 20,000 sq mts would be considered under EIA
Notification, 2006 (by State Environment Impact Assessment Committee) after being
recommended by the concerned CZMA, while for projects less than 20,000 sq mts,
would be considered by the concerned State Coastal Zone Management Authority and
clearance accorded by the State Government agencies such as Urban Department or
Panchayat.
XI. Post Clearance Monitoring: Adequate emphasis is not give for post clearance
monitoring of project. Monitoring procedures and transparency of the compliance to
the conditions shall be clearly laid down.
XII. New Provisions for Enforcement: The 1991 notification does not provide
adequate emphasis for enforcement. Necessary provision shall be included in the
proposed amendments to identify all the violations in a time bound manner and
action initiated by the CZMAs. Powers delegated under Environment (Protection)
Act, 1986, to the Authorities especially the State Coastal Zone Management Authority
and National Coastal Zone Management Authority shall be indicated in the
amendment.
XIII. Preparation of Coastal Zone Management Plans: There are no guidelines,
mapping procedure, scale of maps, methodology, review procedures, ground truthing
etc., indicated in the 1991 notification for preparation of these plans. This has led to
problem especially for local communities. Hence, guidelines indicating the procedure
for preparing the Coastal Zone Management Plans by the States shall be incorporated
in the Notification (in compliance to the Supreme Court’s Order on 27.9.1996). For
States which have not yet prepared the CZMP plans or are ill equipped to prepare the
same, the MoEF with the assistance of reputed scientific agencies including the
National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Zone Management shall get the Plans
prepared by providing technical and financial assistance.
XIV. Removal of Duplication: There is duplication of clearance procedures for the
projects that attract both Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 1991 and
Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, such as ports, harbours,
housing projects etc. In order to rationalize the procedure those projects requiring
EIA Notification will be accorded clearance under the EIA Notification only after
obtaining recommendations from the concerned State Coastal Zone Management
Authority. The other projects which do not attract EIA Notification but requires CRZ
clearance, such projects would be considered only under CRZ.
XV. Facilities for Fisherfolk: Keeping in view the difficulties faced by fishing
communities, basic facilities such as fish drying yards, auction halls, net mending
yards, traditional boat building yards, ice crushing units, fish curing facilities etc.,
shall be provided in the No-Development Zone of CRZ-III areas.
XVI. Creation and Maintenance of Website: To maintain transparency in the
working of the CZMAs it will be the responsibility of the CZMA to create a dedicated
website and post the agendas, minutes, decisions taken, clearance letters, violations,
action taken, court cases etc.
XVII. Improved Language: Efforts have been made to make the 1991 Notification more
reader friendly and which can be understood by common people.

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