Principle of CRZ 2018 notification is Promoting economic growth in coastal regions while keeping in mind conservation principles of coastal regions.
Reasons for introduction of CRZ 2018 notification
CRZ 2018 notification is based on recommendation of Shailesh Nayak committee constituted by Ministry of Environment in June 2014 for comprehensive evaluation of provisions under CRZ 2011 notification as demanded by various coastal States/UTs along with other stakeholders
Classification of CRZs
CRZ I- ecologically sensitive areas such as mangroves, coral reefs, salt marshes, turtle nesting ground and the inter-tidal zone.
CRZ II- areas close to the shoreline, and which have been developed.
CRZ III- Coastal areas that are not substantially built up, including rural coastal areas.
CRZ IV- water area from Low Tide Line(LTL) to the limit of territorial waters of India
Importance of Regulation of Coastal Zones
1. Protection of ecologically Sensitive Areas like mangroves, coral reefs which acts as shield against tsunami and cyclone
2. Improving the lives of coastal communities like fishing communities
3. Resilient measures for mitigating impacts of Climate Change and high intensity Cyclones
4. To balance development with conservation of coastal environment
Important Features of CRZ 2018 notification
1. CRZ Clearance:CRZ 2018 notification mandates only projects under CRZ I and CRZ IV would need clearance from Ministry of Environment whereas CRZ II and CRZ III projects has been delegated to respective states.
2. Rural area Development:CRZs 2018 sub categorizes CRZ III (rural) areas into CRZ III A and CRZ III B:
(a) CRZ III A: Densely populated rural areas with a population density of 2161 per square kilometer as per 2011 Census. Such areas shall have an No Development Zone (NDZ) of 50 meters from the HTL as against 200 meters from the HTL stipulated in the CRZ Notification 2011.
(b) CRZ-III B :Rural areas with population density of below 2161 per square kilometer as per 2011 Census. Such areas shall continue to have an NDZ of 200 meters from the HTL as in CRZ 2011
3. Urban Area Development:CRZ 2018 notification defreeze CRZ II (Urban Area)-Floor Space Index (FSI) or the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) to allow construction projects for redevelopment of such areas to meet emerging need. CRZ 2011 notification had frozen the same as per 1991 Development Control Regulation (DCR) levels
4. Tourism Infrastructure:CRZ 2018 notificationpermits temporary tourism facilities such as shacks, toilet blocks, drinking water facilities etc. in beaches and same is also now permissible in the “No Development Zone” (NDZ) of the CRZ-III areas but minimum distance of 10 m from HTL should be maintained for setting up of such facilities.
5. Island Conservation: CRZ 2018 notification stipulate No Development Zone of 20 m for all islands close to the mainland coast and for all Backwater Islands in the mainland. For bringing uniformity in treatment of such regions due to space limitations and unique geography of such regions
6. Ecologically Sensitive Areas Conservation: CRZ 2018 notification provides specific guidelines for conservation and management plan for Ecological Sensitive Areas
7. Pollution Abatement: CRZ 2018 notification allows treatment facilities as permeable activities to address the issue of pollution in coastal areas
8. Defense Infrastructure: CRZ 2018 notification accords necessary dispensation for defense and strategic projects
Benefits of CRZ 2018 Notification
1. It will lead to increased activities leading to economic growth and generation of coastal livelihoods along with respecting conservation principles of coastal regions
2. It will meet developmental needs of CRZ II(Urban) area by allowing construction projects through removal of fixed Floor Area Ratio norms
3. Provide greater development opportunities for densely populated rural areas under CRZ III A through relaxation of NDZ from 200m t0 50m from HTL
4. By defining NDZ of 20m for all Islands close to mainland and backwater islands within mainland will provide similar treatments for all islands thereby protecting islands unique geography and biodiversity
5. New CRZ also takes into account conservation and management plan for Ecologically Sensitive Areas and provides facilities for pollution treatment in coastal areas
Concerns raised for CRZ 2018 notification
1. Non inclusion of effect of climate change on coastal areas making coastal ecology vulnerable to raising sea level and enhances cyclone intensity
2. There shall be well demarcated hazard line to act as buffer for relaxed provisions for economic development
3. Allowing construction and tourism facilities to boost employment and local economy could damage fragile coastal ecology in absence of strong environmental safeguards
4. Excessive beach lighting is confusing and harmful to some marine species, including migrating turtles
5. Reduction of CRZ to 50m from hazard lines may result in imminent floods
6. Local communities including fisherman could face displacement challenge on account of commercial pressure
7. There is apprehension that notification could affect customary land use and traditional land rights.