Shailesh Nayak Committee has recently relaxed norms under coastal regulation zones. It has proposed for allowing housing infrastructure and slum redevelopment activities, tourism, ports and harbor and fisheries-related activities in coastal regulation zone.
CRZs have been in news at times. Objections have been raised various times to broad the scope of activities that are permitted at these places.
India has a long coastal line which makes these areas important for the country. Let’s understand this thing in a better way:
- What are CRZs?
- Classification of CRZ in India
- What are the activities permitted and prohibited in these areas?
- Why are CRZs important for India?
- Objectives of the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011
- Achievements of CRZ rules, 2011
- Drawbacks of CRZ rules, 2011
- Shailesh Nayak committee on review of coastal regulation zone notification
- Analysis of new recommendations
What are CRZs?
- Coastal Regulation Zones (CRZ) are classified as the region between the outer limits of territorial waters (12 nautical miles) and a specified inward distance (inland) from the high tide line along coasts.
- These zones are recognised as fragile ecosystems and as such are accorded protection against unregulated human activities such as construction, sand mining etc.
- 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).
Classification of CRZ in India
For regulation of developmental activities, the coastal stretches within 500m of HTL on the landward side are classified into four categories, viz.
- Category I (CRZ-I)
- Category II (CRZ – II)
- Category III (CRZ-III)
- Category IV (CRZ-IV)
Category I (CRZ -I):
a) Areas that are ecologically sensitive and important, such as national parks/marine parks, sanctuaries, reserve forests, wild habitats, mangroves, corals/coral reefs, areas likely to be inundated due to rise in sea level consequent upon global warming and such areas as may be declared by the authorities.
b) Areas between the Low Tide Line and High Tide Line
Category II (CRZ -II):
The area that have already been developed up to or the shoreline.
Category III (CRZ -III):
Areas that are relatively undisturbed and those which do not belong to either Category I or II. These include coastal zone in the areas (developed and undeveloped) and also areas within Municipal limits or in other legally designated urban areas which are not substantially built up.
Category IV (CRZ-IV):
Coastal stretches in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep and small islands, except those designated as CRZ I, CRZ II and CRZ III.
What are the activities permitted and prohibited in these areas?
CRZ I: Regulations
No new constructions shall be permitted within 500m of the HTL.
CRZ II: Regulations
- Buildings shall be permitted neither on the seaward side of the existing road or on the seaward side of the existing and proposed road
- Reconstruction of the authorized building to be permitted subject to the existing FSI/FAR norms and without change in the existing use
- The design and construction of buildings shall be consistent with the surrounding landscape and architectural style
CRZ III: Regulations
- The area up to 200m from the HTL is be earmarked as ‘No Development Zone’.
- No construction shall be permitted in this zone except for repairs of existing authorized structures not exceeding existing FSI, existing plinth area and existing density.
- However, the following uses may be permissible in this zone-agriculture, horticulture, gardens, pastures, parks, play fields, forestry and salt manufacture from sea water.
Why are CRZs important for India?
- India has a long coastline of 7516 km, ranging from Gujarat to West Bengal, and two island archipelagos (Andaman Island and Lakshadweep).
- Our coastal ecosystems provide protection from natural disasters such as floods and tsunamis.
- Coastal waters provide a source of primary livelihood to 7 million households.
- Our marine ecosystems are a treasure trove of biodiversity, which we are only beginning to discover and catalogue.
- Thus, our coastline is both a precious natural resource and an important economic asset, and we need a robust progressive framework to regulate our coast.
Objectives of the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011
The main objectives of the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011 were:
- To ensure livelihood security to the fishing communities and other local communities living in the coastal areas;
- To conserve and protect coastal stretches and;
- To promote development in a sustainable manner based on scientific principles, taking into account the dangers of natural hazards in the coastal areas and sea level rise due to global warming.
Achievements of CRZ rules, 2011
- It widens the definition of CRZ to include the land area from HTL to 500 m on the landward side, as well as the land area between HTL to 100 m or width of the creek, whichever is less, on the landward side along tidal influenced water bodies connected to the sea.
- The concept of a ‘hazard line’ has been introduced.
- Clearances for obtaining CRZ approval have been made time-bound. Further, for the first time, post-clearance monitoring of projects has been introduced
- Introduction of the Coastal Zone Management Plans, which will regulate coastal development activity and which are to be formulated by the State Governments or the administration of Union Territories.
- The 2011 Notification also lists out certain measures that have to be taken to prevent pollution in the coastal areas/coastal waters.
Drawbacks of CRZ rules, 2011
- Although the no-development zone of 200 metres from the HTL is reduced to 100 metres, the provision has been made applicable to “traditional coastal communities, including fisher-folk”, thereby giving the chance for increased construction on the coast and higher pressure on coastal resources
- Disallowing Special Economic Zone(“SEZ”) projects in the CRZ
- There are no restrictions for expansion of housing for rural communities in CRZ III
Shailesh Nayak committee on review of coastal regulation zone notification
The main recommendations of this new committee are:
- Need to demarcate precisely: There exists ambiguities in key baseline data, including the demarcation of high and low tide lines and the coastal zone boundary, which has affected the preparation of Coastal Zone Management Plans.
- Shift in Governance: Transferring control of development in the CRZ-II zone, the existing built-up area close to the shoreline, from the Environment Department to State Town Planning authorities, as proposed, would mark a radical shift in governance.
- Construction Activities: Proposed lightly regulated tourism in “no development zones”. Construction and other activities could be taken up in CRZ-III zones just 50 m from the high tide line in densely populated rural areas under State norms (with the responsibility to rescue and rehabilitate during natural calamities left to local authorities) could be based on an over-estimation of the capacity in such bodies.
- Pollution Control: The plan should be to identify specific areas for such activity, assess its environmental impact, demarcate the area under the State’s management plans, and fix responsibility for enforcement, particularly for pollution control.
- Make it participatory: Involving the local communities in the betterment of these areas has yet not been achieved and incorporating a community-based approach should be made a priority.
Analysis of new recommendations
The recommendation by committee has tried to establish a balance between development and coastal conservation. However there are certain areas of concern-
- The demarcation of high tide and low tide lines and coastal zone boundary affected the coastal zone management plans which are crucial for CRZ.
- The transfer of developmental control of CRZ 2 from environmental department to town planning committee encourages local participation but it may disturb the whole system of governance.
- Construction and other activities in CRZ 3 which is in the densely populated zone will hazards human settlement.
- The proposed lightly tourism activity in the “No development zone” would suffocate further biodiversity conservation.
The new recommendations have tried to address issues such as time-bound clearances, enforcement measures, special provisions for specific coastal stretches etc. There is a significant change in the new notification but there is always need for further improvement.