Draft Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), 2018

The draft Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) 2018, released by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) 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 stretches and marine areas, besides livelihood security to the fisher communities and other local communities in the coastal areas and to promote sustainable development based on scientific principles taking into account the dangers of natural hazards, sea level rise due to global warming

The proposed changes in the new draft

CRZ limits

A major change in the new draft pertains to the CRZ limits on land along “tidal influenced water bodies”. The proposed limit has been reduced from 100 metres to 50 metres or the width of the creek, whichever is less.

Mapping of high tide and hazard lines

The draft makes the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) the final authority to lay down standards for High Tide Line (HTL). The hazard line, which was demarcated by the Survey of India (SOI), has been delinked from the CRZ regulatory regime, and will now be used as a “tool” for disaster management and planning of “adaptive and mitigation measures.

Bifurcation of CRZ-III areas

CRZ III refers to land that is relatively undisturbed such as in rural areas, and do not fall in areas considered close to shoreline within existing municipal limits have been divided into two categories:

  • CRZ-III A refers to rural areas with a population density of 2,161 people per square kilometre or more as per the 2011 Census. Such areas shall have a “No Development Zone” (NDZ) of 50m from the HTL.
  • CRZ-III B refers to rural areas with a population density lesser than 2,161 people per square kilometre. Such areas shall continue to have an NDZ of 200m from the HTL.
Projects that require MoEF’s approval

Only those projects located in CRZ-I (environmentally most critical) and CRZ-IV (water and seabed areas) shall require MoEF clearance. All other projects shall be considered by Coastal Zone Management Authorities (CZMAs) in the states and union territories. The draft also allows for construction of roads and roads on stilts, “by way of reclamation in CRZ-1 areas”, only in exceptional cases for “defence, strategic purposes and public utilities,” to be recommended by the CZMA and approved by the Ministry. However, it does not explicitly state what strategic projects are.

Floor space index for CRZ-II

While the 2011 notification had frozen the floor space index or floor area ratio for CRZ-II areas at 1991 Development Control Regulation (DCR) levels, the new draft proposes to de-freeze the same and permit FSI for construction projects as prevailing on the date of the new notification. [Indian Express]

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