INDIA COASTAL MANAGEMENT

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It is very interesting to follow Coastal Zone Management initiatives in other countries. I have been following developments in India during 2018 and in late December their federal government introduced a national regulation which deserves our further attention. It appears possible in India for the federal government to provide direction to all state governments and agencies. At this stage I am not clear as to how effective will be the implementation of this new regulation. If the Indian government is allowing the increased development of coastal areas of high populations density to encourage economic development, then many Indians will most certainly have a front row seat to experience "enjoying the beauty of the mighty seas " when it is brought to their door by sea level rise.

The following is a summary provided by the Indian Government. Also see Indian Express news item on the Indian Cabinet decision.

I look forward to any comments on this Indian initiative and its possible relevance to Australia at a federal level.

Bruce Thom

 

Indian Government Announcement

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2018 which was last reviewed and issued in 2011, with periodic amendments to some clauses. The move comes in the backdrop of a series of representations received by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change from various Coastal States/UTs, besides other stakeholders, for a comprehensive review of the provisions of the CRZ Notification, 2011, particularly related to the management and conservation of marine and coastal eco-systems, development in coastal areas, eco-tourism, livelihood option and sustainable development of coastal communities etc.

Benefits

The proposed CRZ Notification, 2018 will lead to enhanced activities in the coastal regions thereby promoting economic growth while also respecting the conservation principles of coastal regions. It will not only result in significant employment generation but also to better life and add value to the economy of India. The new notification is expected to rejuvenate the coastal areas while reducing their vulnerabilities.

Salient Features:

(i)         Allowing FSI as per current norms in CRZ areas: 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, 2018 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. This will enable redevelopment of these areas to meet the emerging needs.

(ii)        Densely populated rural areas to be afforded greater opportunity for development: 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 since such 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.

(iii)       Tourism infrastructure for basic amenities to be promoted: 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.

(iv)      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.

(v)       A No Development Zone (NDZ) of 20 meters has been stipulated 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.

(vi)       All Ecologically Sensitive Areas have been accorded special importance: Specific guidelines related to their conservation and management plans have been drawn up as a part of the CRZ Notification.

(vii)      Pollution abatement has been accorded special focus: In order to address pollution in Coastal areas treatment facilities have been made permissible activities in CRZ-I B area subject to necessary safeguards.

(viii)     Defence and strategic projects have been accorded necessary dispensation. 

 

Background:

With the objective of conservation and protection of the coastal environment, Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change notified the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification in 1991, which was subsequently revised in 2011. The notification was amended from time to time based on representations received.

A need was felt overtime to undertake a comprehensive revision of the notification on the basis of number of representations from various Coastal States/UTs, besides other stakeholders particularly related to the management and conservation of marine and coastal eco-systems, development in coastal areas, eco-tourism, livelihood options and sustainable development of coastal communities etc. Therefore, the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change constituted a Committee in June 2014 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.

A number of suggestions and comments were received by the Government and based on overall imperative of sustainable development of Coastal areas and need for conserving the Coastal environment, Government has approved the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2018 which is expected to go a long way in meeting the aspirations of Coastal communities besides ensuring welfare of poor and vulnerable populations.

The changes brought about in the CRZ Notification will further add to creating additional opportunities for affordable housing. This will benefit not only the housing sector but the people at large looking for shelter. The Notification is so designed that it balances the needs in such a way that both are fulfilled. Tourism has been one of the greatest creators of livelihood and jobs. The new Notification will boost tourism in terms of more activities, more infrastructure and more opportunities and will certainly go a long way in creating employment opportunities in various aspects of tourism. This will also give boost to people, desirous of seeing and enjoying the beauty of the mighty seas.

 

 

Words by Prof Bruce Thom. Please respect the author's thoughts and reference appropriately: (c) ACS, 2019, posted 2 February 2019, for correspondence about this blog post please email austcoastsoc@gmail.com

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