New notification for coastal areas in force

The CRZ 2019 opens up the coastline of the country for tourism and construction activities

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest released the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) 2019 notification on Friday, opening up the coastline of the country for construction and tourism activities.

The new notification could result in reduction of No Development Zones (NDZ) significantly. This may pave the way for a construction boom along the coastline.

Tourism sector is to benefit from the relaxation of NDZ, as more hotels and resorts are likely come up on the beach areas. Tourism activities could be undertaken in the designated areas to be identified by the State governments and included in their respective Coastal Zone Management Plan, according to the notification.

Most of the recommendations of an expert committee headed by Shailesh Nayak, which looked into the concerns of coastal States and various stakeholders, relating to the CRZ 2011 notification were incorporated in the new notification, according CRZ experts.

The notification has classified the CRZ 3 areas (the land areas that are relatively undisturbed and those which do not fall under CRZ 2) into CRZ 3 A and 3 B based on the density of population.

The areas with a population density of 2,161 persons or more per square kilometre, as in the 2011 census, will be become CRZ 3 A and construction activities could be undertaken towards the landward side from the 50 metre point of the High Tide Line (HTL).

All other CRZ-3 areas with population density of less than 2,161 persons per square kilometre will be designated as CRZ-3 B and development activities will be permitted beyond the 200-metre-mark from the HTL towards the landward side.

The notification has covered all the backwater islands and islands along the mainland coast and a uniform NDZ of 20 metres from the HTL towards the landward side has been put in place.

All the coastal States with such islands will prepare Integrated Island Management Plans and get them approved by the Ministry. The 2019 notification will come into force in these islands only when the Plan is framed.

B. Madhusoodana Kurup, former Vice chancellor of the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies, Kochi, said the new notification failed to acknowledge the issues of global warming and sea level rise.

Even though the notification did away with the No Development Zone for the construction and repair of dwelling units of communities including fishermen along the coast, it would expose these group to the perils of nature more. The opening of the coast for tourism activities would lead to reduced livelihood options for fishermen, he feared.

K.K. Ramachandran, a former member secretary of the Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority, said while the notification attempted to bring in some clarity on the enforcement aspects, it could result in misuse of provisions for eco-tourism activities in mangrove stretches and compensatory afforestation for affected mangroves.

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