Policy Briefs & Reports

CZMAs and Coastal Environments: Two Decades of Regulating Land Use Change on India’s Coastline

Manju Menon, Meenakshi Kapoor, Kanchi Kohli, Satnam Kaur
Preeti Venkatram

Centre for Policy Research

June 20, 2015

This project is part of an effort to understand how institutions function and interface with the lives of ordinary citizens. It seeks to bridge the gap between law and life. Namati as an organisation is dedicated to researching and understanding how law can be a tool of empowerment and justice. How does law become an opportunity not a threat? How does law become transparent rather than obscure? How does law become effective rather than inert?

This study- a product of Namati’s partnership with the Centre for Policy Research- focusses on an important but under-examined set of regulatory institutions in India, the Coastal Zone Management Authorities (CZMAs). If law is to be empowering for the communities who inhabit India’s long, great coastline, those communities must be able to understand and engage the CZMAs.

The study represents the most rigorous empirical work on CZMAs to date. The research team interviewed over thirty authority members, reviewed all relevant judgments by the National Green Tribunal, and arduously analysed minutes from over 350 meetings of the authorities. The minutes spanned several decades and all nine coastal states. Based on this research the authors illuminate how the authorities function in practice. They identify practical challenges the authorities face- Coastal Zone Management Plan maps are difficult to use, for example, because they are on a different scale than revenue maps. The authors also document innovations undertaken, and problems faced, by particular states. Tamil Nadu, for example, has made strides in developing extensive monitoring mechanisms, and yet has arguably not managed to translate the monitoring activity into enforcement.

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