Coastal communities get more rights under new CRZ rules notified by the environment ministry
The new Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules of the Ministry of Environment and Forests that was notified on January 7, 2011, frees up more space for development which has been severely curtailed under the CRZ rules formulated 20 years ago, by allowing development beyond 100 metres as against 200 metres in the earlier rules. But they give local coastal communities a say in how development should take place.
Under the 2011 rules, coastal land has been classified into four zones:
CRZ I will comprise ecologically sensitive areas like mangroves and mudflats; CRZ II will comprise developed areas; CRZ III will consist of underdeveloped areas, not classified ecologically sensitive; and CRZ IV will comprise territorial waters from the low tide line to 12 nautical miles into the sea.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep have been taken out of the purview of CRZ notification. A separate Island Protection Notification was issued earlier this year for these islands.
In addition to the four zones, four areas have been marked for special consideration: CRZ areas in the Greater Mumbai region, Goa and Kerala (backwaters) and the Sunderbans.
- The “no-development zone” has been reduced from 200 metres from the high-tide line to 100 metres, but exclusively to meet the increased housing demands of fishing and coastal communities.
- CRZ 2011 introduces the participation of local communities in coastal management plans, a feature absent in the notification of 1991. Thus, communities living along the country’s 7,500 km coastline will have a say in developing coastal regions in which development has been allowed. For example, the 500,000 people living in the Sunderban mangrove areas will now have a say in determining local plans for schools and hospitals, or even a jetty.
- Floor Space Index (FSI), which was restricted to between 1.25 and 1.66, has been increased to 2.5.
- CRZ 1991 only covered coastal shores land-side of the coast. The CRZ 2011 rules extend the CRZ zone up to 12 nautical miles (about 22 km) into the sea and the entire water area of tidal bodies such as rivers, creeks and estuaries -- without any restrictions on fishing activities.
- New industries and expansion of old industries are prohibited in the CRZs, with some exceptions such as projects of the Department of Atomic Energy; facilities for generating power by non-conventional energy sources; and development of a greenfield airport already permitted only at Navi Mumbai. Discharge of untreated waste and effluents from industries, cities or towns and other human settlements is also prohibited as is dumping of city or town waste including construction debris, industrial solid waste, etc.
While announcing the new rules, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh made it clear that violations of CRZ 1991 would not be condoned or regularised, barring the case of fishing communities. All coastal states and union territories would have to use maps and satellite imagery to identify violations of CRZ 1991 within the next four months and initiate action against offenders in the next eight months.
The new rules have particular significance for a coastal city such as Mumbai. It is estimated that nearly half the space -- over 200 sq km -- that has been closed to development since the CRZ norms first came into effect two decades ago will now be freed up. About 146 slum clusters and 620 cessed buildings near Mumbai’s coastline can now be cleared away and rebuilt.
According to the Maharashtra government, approximately 1 lakh low-cost houses will be made available in the next few years as the new rules say private builders will have to partner with the state while redeveloping structures along coastal areas.
Around 38 koliwadas (fishing colonies) in and around Mumbai will be able to develop with the shrinking of the no development zone. Despite this, the fishing community is not happy with the new CRZ, according to some reports. They allege that it is the builder community and not they who will benefit from the new rules, and are demanding greater FSI.
CRZ I, the most protected zone under CRZ 2011
CRZ I includes:
(A) Areas that are ecologically sensitive and geomorphological features which play a role in maintaining the integrity of the coast:
(a) Mangroves. If the mangrove area is more than 1,000 sq mt, a buffer of 50 metres along the mangroves shall be provided
(B) Area between the low tide line and high tide line
See the complete CRZ 2011 rules at: http://moef.nic.in/downloads/CRZ-Notification-2011.pdf
Source: Hindustan Times, January 10, 2011
The Telegraph, January 8, 2011
Sakaal Times, January 8, 2011