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What is Coastal Regulation Zone, CRZ Rules & CRZ Notification?


With India having a coastline spanning around 7,516 kilometres, the coastal regions have become significant for the economic growth and development of industries like shipbuilding and mining. The regulation of coastal zones is crucial for protecting the country’s coastal environment. In December 2018, the government approved the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2018.

 

What are coastal regulation zones?

The Environment Ministry came up with the Coastal Regulation Zone rules (CRZ rules) in February 1991, under the Environment Protection Act in 1986. The rules were notified in 2011. In 2018, the government issued the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2018 to remove restrictions on building, streamlining the clearance process and increasing tourism in the coastal areas.

As per the CRZ rules, the coastal areas of creeks, seas, bays, rivers and backwaters that get affected by tides up to 500 metres from the high tide line (HTL) and the land area between the low tide line (LTL) and the high tide line are declared as coastal regulation zone (CRZ).

State governments are responsible for preparing Coastal Zone Management Plans (CZMP) and implementing the CRZ rules through their respective Coastal Zone Management Authorities.

 

Coastal regulation zone

See also: All you need to know about India’s national waterways

 

Classification of coastal regulation zone

According to the CRZ notification, coastal areas are classified into four categories:

  • CRZ-I: It constitutes ecologically-sensitive areas, such as mangroves, corals/coral reefs, sand dunes, national parks, marine parks, sanctuaries, reserve forests, wildlife habitats, etc. The coastal regulation zone areas are situated between high tide lines and low tide lines.
  • CRZ-II: It constitutes the developed areas up to the shoreline, which fall within the existing municipal limits. The development of unauthorised structures is not allowed in this zone.
  • CRZ-III: Localities, such as rural areas that are relatively undisturbed and do not fall under the above categories, are included in this zone. Only specific activities related to agriculture or certain public facilities are permitted under this coastal regulation zone.
  • CRZ-IV: The zone constitutes water areas from the low tide line up to territorial limits, including areas of the tidal-influenced water bodies.

 

Importance of coastal regulation zone

Coastal zones are transition areas between the marine and territorial zones. There is a growing need to safeguard these ecologically sensitive areas, including mangroves and coral reefs, against pollution and the impact of climate change. Additionally, industrial development and new infrastructure projects have been seen as a threat to the mangrove ecosystem, thus, impacting the livelihoods of the local population.

The CRZ rules have been formulated with the objective of protecting coastal ecosystems, by regulating human and industrial activities near the coastline. They also aim to improve the lives of coastal communities such as fishing communities, develop measures to deal with the effects of climate change and high-intensity cyclones and ensure sustainable development of the coastal regions. The development of coastal communities is among the four pillars of the ambitious Sagarmala project undertaken by the government.

In 2018, the government said that the implementation of the CRZ rules would lead to enhanced activities in the coastal areas, thus, promoting economic growth while also respecting the conservation principles of coastal regions. It said that it would not only lead to significant employment generation but also result in better life and add value to the country’s economy.

 

CRZ notification

Here are some of the salient features of the CRZ Notification, 2018:

  • Allowing Floor Space Index (FSI) as per current norms in CRZ II (urban) areas.
  • Two separate categories stipulated for the CRZ III (Rural) areas, allowing greater opportunity for development.
  • Promotion of tourism infrastructure.
  • Streamlining the procedure for CRZ clearances.
  • A No-Development Zone (NDZ) of 20 metres stipulated for all islands.
  • Ecologically sensitive areas to be given special importance, with specific guidelines related to their conservation and management plans.
  • To address pollution, treatment facilities have been made as permissible activities in CRZ I B areas.
  • The notification accords necessary dispensation for defence and strategic projects.

See also: Special Economic Zone (SEZ): All you need to know

 

Coastal regulation zone latest updates

Environment Ministry issues memorandum to regularise constructions

In February 2021, the Environment Ministry issued an office memorandum to all the coastal states, specifying the procedure for dealing with violations arising by not obtaining prior CRZ clearance for permissible activities in the CRZ areas. The order was mainly for projects that required environmental clearance and included urban building or commercial projects above Rs 10 crores.

Government allows post-facto CRZ clearances for projects

The Environment Ministry has decided to allow post-facto clearances for projects that commenced without prior coastal regulation zone clearances. Detailing the procedure for getting post-facto clearance, the Environment Ministry said that only those projects, which are otherwise permissible as per the provisions of CRZ Notification, but have begun construction without prior clearance, would be considered for clearance.

 

FAQs

What is coastal regulation zone?

Coastal regulation zones are areas along the coastline of India, where development, infrastructure, construction, tourism and other activities are regulated by the government of India.

Who declares CRZ?

The coastal regulation zones were declared by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate change, under the Environment Protection Act, 1986.

 

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