The Central Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change notified new Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms to replace the existing CRZ Notification of 2011 on January 18.
The MoFCC said that the new CRZ notification, issued under Section 3 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 seeks to "to promote sustainable development based on scientific principles taking into account the dangers of natural hazards, sea level rise due to global warming" and "to conserve and protect the unique environment of coastal stretches and marine areas, besides livelihood security to the fisher communities and other local communities in the coastal area".
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. The reduction is made on the ground that densely populated areas have similar characteristics as urban areas.
(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 permitted in coastal areas
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.
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.
No Development Zone (NDZ) of 20 meters 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.
Pollution abatement :
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 (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,Malvan, Achra-Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, Karwar and Coondapur in Karnataka, Vembanad in Kerala, Gulf of Mannar in Tamil Nadu, Bhaitarkanika in Odisha, Coringa, East Godavari and Krishna in Andhra Pradesh are treated as Critical Vulnerable Coastal Areas (CVCA) and managed with the involvement of coastal communities including fisher folk who depend on coastal resources for their sustainable livelihood.
In June 2014, the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change constituted a Committee 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. In December 2018, the Union Cabinet accorded approval to that draft notification.
As stated by the Government in a PIB press release, the changes brought about in the CRZ Notification will help creating additional opportunities for affordable housing and sustainable development activities. It is stated that the new notification will boost tourism, creating employment opportunities.
Read CRZ Regulations 2019