A note by the Centre for Policy Research (CPR)-Namati Environment Justice Programme:
In the last eighteen months, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) issued eight amendments to the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2011. Of these, four were issued as drafts seeking public comments.These amendments draw extensively from the “Report of the Committee to Review the issues relating to the Coastal Regulation Zone, 2011”. The report was drafted by a six-member committee set up in June 2014 and headed by Shailesh Nayak, the then Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences. While the report of this committee was never made public by the ministry on the grounds that the report was not approved, these amendments were put out.
Since 1991, the CRZ Notification has been the primary regulation for conservation of the coast and protection of coastal livelihoods (See Annexure explaining these zones). The notification is implemented by demarcating coastal areas into different zones, regulating land use change in the zones and prescribing proactive conservation measures.
While the Ministry did not disclose the proceedings of the committee meetings and its report on the pretext that the report is yet to be accepted, a series of amendments continued to be pushed through. The Shailesh Nayak Committee completed its meetings with the states and Union Territories (UTs) in October 2014 and in early November 2014 the committee made a presentation before Prakash Javadekar, the Minister of Environment & Forests on concerns pertaining to CRZ. While the Committee submitted its report to the MoEFCC in January 2015, the first amendment to the CRZ Notification, 2011 came in as early as the end of November 2014. Since then the Ministry issued seven more amendments to the CRZ Notification. Our analysis reveals that all of these are linked to the preliminary and final set of issues identified and recommendations made by the Shailesh Nayak Committee.
The Shailesh Nayak Committee report recommends that a new draft CRZ Notification be issued. The MoEFCC has relied on several of the changes proposed in it to shape individual amendments to the existing Notification.
Below is a comparison of the amendments issued since November 2014:
- CZMP extension
- Relaxations in CRZ II areas
- Relaxations related to reclamation of seabed
- Clearance procedures
- Other issues
- CRZ I: Ecologically Sensitive Areas: Areas that are ecologically sensitive or important, with rich genetic diversity, at risk of inundation on rise of sea level and between the High Tide Line (HTL) and Low Tide Line (LTL).
- CRZ II: Urban Areas: Areas that have already been developed upto or close to the shoreline. Area that falls under the municipal limits or any other legally. designated urban areas that is already substantially built up and has been provided with approach roads, sewage and drainage systems.
- CRZ III: Rural Areas: Areas which were originally undisturbed, coastal zones in rural areas and those areas falling within the municipal limits or designated urban areas but are not substantially built up.
- NDZ: No development Zone: The first 200 m of the CRZ III.
- CRZ IV: Water Areas: Water area from the LTL to 12 nautical miles on the seaward side; water area of the tidal influenced waterbody from its mouth to the sea upto the influence of tide.