UPSC MAINS 2019: Cabinet approves Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification 2018

Cabinet approves Coastal Regulation Zone

 

Topic: Cabinet approves Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification 2018

Topic in Syllabus: GS Paper 2: Indian Governance

 

Cabinet approves Coastal Regulation Zone

Context:

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2018 which was last reviewed and issued in 2011, with periodic amendments to some clauses.

 

More about on news:

  • The approval follows multiple representations made by civil society pointing out that the draft notification works towards diluting rules that govern the country’s 7,500-km long coastline.
  • When the draft rules were made public in April, environmentalists had alleged that the notification will open up fragile intertidal areas to real estate agents and was framed with the intent to favour large-scale industry at the cost of fishing communities.
  • The CRZ 2018 notification states that in order to address pollution in coastal areas “treatment facilities have been made permissible activities in CRZ 1-B area subject to necessary safeguards”. The draft rules specify that CRZ 1-B refers to intertidal areas.
  • The notification will affect how common areas used by fisherfolk are managed and also attempt to bifurcate coastal zones along rural areas based on population density. When the draft rules were made public in April, environmentalists had alleged that the notification will open up fragile intertidal areas to real estate agents and it was framed with the intent to favour large-scale industry at the cost of fishing communities.
  • The proposed CRZ Notification will lead to enhanced activities in the coastal regions thereby promoting economic growth while also respecting the conservation principles of coastal regions.
  • It will not only result in significant employment generation but also to better life and add value to the economy of India.
  • The new notification is expected to rejuvenate the coastal areas while reducing their vulnerabilities.

 

Background:

  • With the objective of conservation and protection of the coastal environment, Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change notified the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification in 1991, which was subsequently revised in 2011. The notification was amended from time to time based on representations received.
  • A need was felt overtime to undertake a comprehensive revision of the notification on the basis of number of representations from various Coastal States/UTs, besides other stakeholders particularly related to the management and conservation of marine and coastal eco-systems, development in coastal areas, eco-tourism, livelihood options and sustainable development of coastal communities etc.
  • Therefore, the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change constituted a Committee in June 2014 under the Chairmanship of Dr. Shailesh Nayak (Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences) to examine the various issues and concerns of Coastal States/UTs and other stakeholders for recommending appropriate changes in the CRZ Notification, 2011.
  • The Shailesh Nayank Committee held wide ranging consultations with State Governments and other stakeholders and submitted its recommendations in 2015.
  • The recommendations were further examined in consultation with Members of Parliament of Coastal States and Union Territories besides other concerned Ministries of Government of India.
  • A draft notification was issued in April, 2018 for inviting comments from public at large.
  • A number of suggestions and comments were received by the Government and based on overall imperative of sustainable development of Coastal areas and need for conserving the Coastal environment, Government has approved the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2018 which is expected to go a long way in meeting the aspirations of Coastal communities besides ensuring welfare of poor and vulnerable populations.
  • The changes brought about in the CRZ Notification will further add to creating additional opportunities for affordable housing.
  • This will benefit not only the housing sector but the people at large looking for shelter. The Notification is so designed that it balances the needs in such a way that both are fulfilled. Tourism has been one of the greatest creators of livelihood and jobs.
  • The new Notification will boost tourism in terms of more activities, more infrastructure and more opportunities and will certainly go a long way in creating employment opportunities in various aspects of tourism. This will also give boost to people, desirous of seeing and enjoying the beauty of the mighty seas.

 

Salient Features:

1. Allowing FSI as per current norms in CRZ areas:

  • 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, 2018 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.
  • This will enable redevelopment of these areas to meet the emerging needs.

2. Densely populated rural areas to be afforded greater opportunity for development: For CRZ-III (Rural) areas, two separate categories have now been stipulated as below:

  • 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 since such areas have similar characteristics as urban areas.
  • 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.

3. Tourism infrastructure for basic amenities to be promoted:

  • Temporary tourism facilities such as shacks, toilet blocks, change rooms, drinking water facilities etc. have now been permitted in Beaches.
  • Such temporary tourism facilities are also now permissible in the “No Development Zone” (NDZ) of the CRZ-III areas as per the Notification.
  • However, a minimum distance of 10 m from HTL should be maintained for setting up of such facilities.

4. CRZ Clearances streamlined:

  • The procedure for CRZ clearances has been streamlined. Only such projects/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.

5. A No Development Zone (NDZ) of 20 meters has been stipulated for all Islands:

  • For islands close to the main land coast and for all Backwater Islands in the main land, in wake of space limitations and unique geography of such regions, bringing uniformity in treatment of such regions, NDZ of 20 m has been stipulated.

6. All Ecologically Sensitive Areas have been accorded special importance:

  • Specific guidelines related to their conservation and management plans have been drawn up as a part of the CRZ Notification.

7. Pollution abatement has been accorded special focus:

  • In order to address pollution in Coastal areas treatment facilities have been made permissible activities in CRZ-I B area subject to necessary safeguards.

8. Defence and strategic projects have been accorded necessary dispensation.

 

What are Coastal Regulation Zones?

  • 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 recognized 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):

  • 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.
  • 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.

 

Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification 2018 Benefits:

  • The proposed CRZ Notification, 2018 will lead to enhanced activities in the coastal regions thereby promoting economic growth while also respecting the conservation principles of coastal regions.
  • It will not only result in significant employment generation but also to better life and add value to the economy of India.
  • The new notification is expected to rejuvenate the coastal areas while reducing their vulnerabilities.

 

Sample Question:

What do you understand by Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) ? Examine how the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification 2018 will lead to enhanced activities in the coastal regions thereby promoting economic growth while also respecting the conservation principles of coastal regions.