Crucial aspects of proposed Marine Coastal Regulatory Zone Notification revealed

28 April 2017
Crucial aspects of proposed Marine Coastal Regulatory Zone Notification revealed
PART 4 OF A SERIES ON ‘COASTAL REGULATION’ BY THE CPR-NAMATI ENVIRONMENT JUSTICE PROGRAM

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) conducts a ‘stakeholder meeting’ on 20 March 2017, to discuss the ‘Marine Coastal Regulatory Zone (MCRZ) Notification.

Spate of changes to CRZ Notification, 2011

The CRZ Notification regulates activities in the sea up to 12 nautical miles and on 500 metres of land (from the High Tide Line – HTL) adjoining the sea. It also governs development on the area between the 500 metre line and the hazard line (hazard line demarcates areas that are vulnerable to sea level rise and other climate change impacts). It does so by dividing these zones into ecologically sensitive areas (CRZ I), urban areas (CRZ II), rural areas (CRZ III) and water areas (CRZ IV). The first 200 metres of CRZ III is demarcated as ‘No Development Zone’ (NDZ) to reduce the negative impacts of development on fragile ecosystems such as sand dunes, corals, mangroves, etc.

Since early 2014, the MoEFCC has taken a number of steps to review, discuss and revise the CRZ Notification, 2011. The CPR-Namati Environment Justice Program has prepared a chronology of the MoEFCC’s activities below. 

Month

Action

June 2014

MoEFCC constitutes CRZ Review (Shailesh Nayak) Committee

Nov 2014

The CRZ review Committee presents its findings

Nov 2014- April 2016

MoEFCC issues eight amendments to and two clarifications regarding the CRZ Notification, 2011

Jan 2015

The CRZ review committee submits its report

Dec 2016

On 7 and 8 Dec, MoEFCC organises a meeting with MPs and decides that CRZ Notification, 2011 would be revised

March 2017

-On 4 March, in an internal meeting, the MoEFCC decides the steps to notify the MCRZ Notification

-On 9 March, the MoEFCC announces a separate web portal for CRZ clearance

-On 20 March, MoEFCC organizes a meeting with ‘stakeholder ministries’ and presents the proposed MCRZ Notification and asks the ministries to submit their comments in the next 15 days

In earlier pieces, we have discussed the review process, the amendments that the CRZ Notification has been subjected to, and the impact of the changes proposed to the Notification. This piece relates to information received through the Right to Information application seeking details on the process of drafting a new Marine and Coastal Regulation Zone Notification to replace the current Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2011.

Discussions on MCRZ Notification in lieu of CRZ Notification, 2011

The MoEFCC organised an inter-ministerial meeting on 20 March 2017.  As per the minutes provided by the Ministry (available here), the Secretary, Environment, Forests and Climate Change chaired the meeting. It was shared in the meeting that the MoEFCC has decided to revise the CRZ Notification 2011 based on the views of:

  • The governments of all coastal states and union territories through the CRZ review (our piece gives details of the state governments’ suggestions to the CRZ review committee).
  • The Members of Parliament as shared in a meeting held on 7 and 8 December 2016 (Details of the meeting are not provided).

Changes proposed in the MCRZ

Below is a list of key changes the MCRZ proposes in different zones of the CRZ. Also provided are the corresponding provisions of the current CRZ Notification, 2011, and recommendations of the Shailesh Nayak Committee.

Proposed MCRZ Notification

Current CRZ Notification, 2011

Shailesh Nayak Committee Report

HTL Demarcation

Authorises National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) to carry out tidal demarcation for the Indian coastline

Authorises seven agencies to carry out tidal demarcation

Recognises NCSCM’s role in carrying out tidal demarcation

CRZ Limits

Limits CRZ to first 500 metres of land from HTL and not till the hazard line (in case the hazard line falls beyond the 500 metre line)

Notifies area between 500 metre line and hazard line on the landward side of the HTL as CRZ

Terms the area between 500 metre line and hazard line as Hazard Management Zone. The Zone is to have hazard management measures, which would be drafted by the respective state governments.

CRZ I

Permits ‘essential amenities’ such as sewage treatment plants, link roads and coastal roads and ecotourism projects in CRZ I

Prohibits construction of sewage treatment plants, coastal roads, link roads and tourism projects in CRZ I (recent amendments allowed sewage treatment plants in CRZ I areas of Mumbai)

Permits construction of sewage and effluent treatment plants and temporary tourism structures in CRZ I

CRZ II

Applies the prevailing town and country planning norms for construction of buildings in CRZ II areas

Freezes town and country planning norms for construction of buildings in CRZ II areas to 1991 level, when the CRZ Notification was first issued.

Applies the prevailing town and country planning norms for construction of buildings in CRZ II areas

CRZ III (including NDZ)

Provides an NDZ of 50 metres from the HTL in CRZ III areas

Provides an NDZ of 200 metres from the HTL in CRZ III areas

Provides an NDZ of 50 metres for ‘densely populated’ CRZ III areas and an NDZ of 200 metres in other ‘rural areas’ of CRZ III

Allows construction of houses for local communities in CRZ III areas beyond the NDZ (50 metres from HTL)

Allows construction of dwelling units for coastal communities after first 100 metres from HTL in CRZ III

Allows construction of houses for local communities in CRZ III areas beyond the NDZ (50 or 200 metres from HTL)

Allows construction of temporary tourism facilities in NDZ

Prohibits construction of temporary tourism facilities in NDZ

Allows construction of temporary tourism facilities in NDZ (limits them to 33% of total area in NDZ)

CRZ IV

Limits CRZ for offshore islands to 20 metres from the HTL on the landward side of the sea

Demarcates 500 metres (50 metres, for islands in backwaters of Kerala) from the HTL on offshore islands on landward side of sea as CRZ

Not mentioned

In this meeting, the Ministry shared that it held an internal discussion on 4 March 2017 with all the environment secretaries and environment directors and decided that the Ministry would present the proposed MCRZ notification before the ‘stakeholder ministries’ and take their views on it (Copy of the proposed MCRZ Notification is not provided).

Views of the ‘Stakeholder’ Ministries

The MoEFCC invited the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, NITI Ayog, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ welfare, Ministry of Rural Development, and Ministry of Earth Sciences for an inter-ministerial consultative meeting on 20 March, 2017. Comments of the representatives of these Ministries as shared in the meeting minutes are provided below.

Ministry of Tourism

-Revised notification should open up main islands for their tourism potential.

-NDZ should be reduced further from 50 metres.

-Development of inland islands should be made possible.

Ministry of Shipping

-NDZ should be reduced further from 50 metres.

-For development of ports in Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) islands, special provisions should be made

-More delegation from State Coastal Zone Management Authorities (SCZMAs) to state governments for clearance/approval should be allowed.

Ministry of Urban Development

-Effluent and Sewage Treatment Plants should be permitted in CRZ I areas

-The deadline of 2 years for setting up of treatment plants in all coastal states should be changed to 3 years.

-NDZ should be reduced further from 50 metres.

Observations

Beginning from the CRZ review by Shailesh Nayak Committee to the proposed MCRZ Notification, each review/revision process has only diluted the coastal regulation. The MoEFCC opened the CRZ Notification to review but with a narrow scope – it limited the Terms of Reference of the Shailesh Nayak Committee only to address state governments’ grievances. Other stakeholders were kept out and the review thus conducted was obscure and skewed without an objective, inclusive and participatory assessment of the CRZ Notification. The inter-ministerial meeting does not fare any better. 

It seems the MoEFCC is seeking legitimacy for the changes to the CRZ Notification using the report of the Shailesh Nayak Committee, which itself is a result of a one-sided process. However, the changes that the MoEFCC is trying to slip through will make the original Notification even weaker than what the committee suggested.  For instance, the Shailesh Nayak committee suggested a differential NDZ width of 50 meters and 200 metres based on the population density of coastal areas but the draft MCRZ Notification proposes an NDZ of 50 metres in all CRZ III areas regardless of the population density.

All three ministries that commented on the MCRZ demanded further reduction in the NDZ and more infrastructure on the coast (either for tourism, sewage and effluent treatment or ports). This hardly comes across as a surprise as the mandate of these ministries has always been in conflict with the objectives of coastal conservation and livelihood protection.

The other pieces in this series can be accessed below:

The views shared belong to individual faculty and researchers and do not represent an institutional stance on the issue.