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The Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) was instituted on the 19th February 1991, by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), with the aim of protecting, India’s greatest asset, its 7500-km-long coastline from unregulated development and adverse environmental impact.
However, with the latest amendment of the CRZ 2011, the MoEF has discernibly taken the middle path only to the bewilderment of both the environmentalists and developers.
Analysis of CRZ2011:
CRZ is the area within 500 meters from the High Tide Line (“HTL”) on the landward side along the sea front, and the area within 100 meters along each side of tidal influenced water bodies like estuaries and river mouths, etc.
Following are the key changes implemented in CRZ2011:
1.CRZ – I :[covers highly sensitive ecological and the geomorphologic features which play a role in the maintaining of the integrity of the coast areas]
a.Construction of trans-harbor sea link without affecting the tidal flow of water, between LTL and HTL.
2. CRZ – II: [(urban areas) are the areas that are developed up to or close to the shoreline and falling within the municipal limits]
a.Slum rehabilitation and redevelopment, which has to be carried out through an entity where the state government or its instrumentalities hold no less than 51% stake.
b.Redevelopment of old buildings, by providing suitable accommodation to the original tenants.
c.Additional FSI, whether under slum rehabilitation or redevelopment, the floor space index (FSI) or the floor area ratio (FAR) shall be in accordance with the town and country planning regulations.
3. CRZ – III : [(rural areas) are the areas that are relatively undisturbed and those do not belong to either CRZ-I or II which include coastal zone in the rural areas (developed and undeveloped) and also areas within municipal limits or in other legally designated urban areas, which are not substantially built up
a.No Development Zone (NDZ) which is an area up to 200mts from HTL on the landward side in case of seafront and 100mts along tidal influenced water bodies or width of the water body whichever is less is to be earmarked as NDZ, where no development shall be permissible.
b.Hotels in CRZ – III, development of vacant plot in designated areas for construction of hotels or beach resorts for tourists or visitors is permitted subject to specified conditions and prior approval of MoEF.
a.Streamlined and time-bound approval process, a specific procedure provided in CRZ 2011 for obtaining clearances and also provides for an enforcement mechanism which was missing earlier.
b.Enhanced transparency, all redevelopment projects shall be subjected to the Right to Information Act, 2005 (“RTI”) in terms whereof any and all information of the project shall be accessible by public.
The CZR2011 seeks to achieve one of its core objectives to promote development in a sustainable manner based on scientific principles, taking into account the dangers of natural hazards in the coastal areas by keeping in mind the responsibility towards various communities and ecological areas dotted throughout the coastal territories of India.
CRZ2011 has come up with structured steps to ensure that coastal developments do not damage the environment and provide sufficient insulation from calamities such as cyclones and tsunamis.