Coastal Regulation & Developmental Activities

The coastal stretches of seas, bays, estuaries, creeks, rivers and back waters influenced by tidal action were declared “Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ)” in 1991. India has created institutional mechanisms such as National Coastal Zone Management Authority (NCZMA) and State Coastal Zone Management Authority (SCZMA) for enforcement and monitoring of the CRZ Notification.
These authorities have been delegated powers under Section 5 of the Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986 to take various measures for protecting and improving the quality of the coastal environment and preventing, abating and controlling environmental pollution in coastal areas.

Classification of coastal zones

CRZ-I: Ecological sensitive area and the area between High Tide Line (HTL) and Low Tide Line (LTL).No new construction is permitted except for a few specified most essential activities like support activities for Atomic Energy Plants and Defense requirements, facilities required for disposal of treated effluents and other port related waterfront activities.

CRZ-II: The area that have been developed up to or close to the shore line which includes the designated urban areas that are substantially built up. Buildings permitted only on the landward side of the existing authorized structures as defined in the notification.

CRZ-III: The areas that are relatively undisturbed and those which do not belong to either CRZ-I or CRZ-II which includes mainly the rural area and those not substantially built up within designated urban areas. The area up to 200 meters from HTL is earmarked as “No Development Zone“. No construction is permitted within this zone except for repairs to the existing authorized structures. Development of vacant plots between 200 and 500 meters of HTL is permitted in CRZ III for the purpose of construction of dwelling units and hotels/beach resorts subject to certain conditions.

CRZ-IV: The activities impugning on the sea and tidal influenced water bodies will be regulated except for traditional fishing and related activities undertaken by local communities. No untreated sewage, effluents, pollution from oil drilling shall be let off or dumped.

Research indicates that anthropogenic climate change will inundate significant sections of Mumbai by 2050. The city of Mumbai joins the likes of Guangzhou, Jakarta, Miami, and Manila, Mumbai on list of cities endangered by climate change.
Despite the need for action, the city is ignoring climate adaption programs. Take for example, the new 29.2 km Coastal Road project (now stalled by the Bombay High Court) to be built on reclaimed land prone to flooding.

An IPCC report warns Mumbai’s planners and administrators that frequent sea level events due to climate change, coupled with trends in coastal development will increase annual flood damages by 2-3 times by 2100.

The need of the hour is to rethink how Mumbai may be remade via new design, plans and infrastructures. designs, plans, and infrastructures, not the materialisation of failed ideas of the 20th century.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Briefly discuss about the coastal regulation guidelines in light of Mumbai’s coastal road project.

Published: December 18, 2019 | Modified:October 15, 2020