The Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change has issued a draft on coastal development rules and has invited comments and suggestions from the experts and interested parties.
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The draft notification has suggested reducing the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) to 50 metres from the existing 100. CRZ is an area measured from the high tide line on the landward side. “CRZ shall apply to the land area between HTL to 50 mts or width of the creek whichever is less on the landward side along the tidal influenced water bodies that are connected to the sea and the distance up to which development along such tidal influenced water bodies is to be regulated shall be governed by the distance up to which the tidal effects are experienced which shall be determined based on salinity concentration of 5 parts per thousand (ppt) measured during the driest period of the year and distance up to which tidal effects are experienced shall be clearly identified and demarcated accordingly in the Coastal Zone Management Plans,” says the draft. If the draft becomes the rule, it will amount to significant relaxation of the buffer zone along the seaboard within which construction is regulated, which in turn will have immense implications for Greater Mumbai.
Within the CRZ, more classifications have been introduced to delineate environmentally sensitive areas such as reefs, mangroves and nesting sites. In case mangrove area is more than 1000 sq. mts, a buffer of 50 meters along the mangroves shall be provided and such area shall also constitute CRZA.
Some areas have been identified as Critically Vulnerable Coastal Areas. These areas include Sunderban region of West Bengal and other ecologically sensitive areas identified as under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 such as Gulf of Khambat and Gulf of Kutchchh in Gujarat, Malvan, Achra-Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, Karwar and Coondapur in Karnataka, Vembanad in Kerala, Gulf of Mannar in Tamil Nadu, Bhaitarkanika in Odisha, Coringa, East Godavari and Krishna in Andhra Pradesh shall be treated as Critical Vulnerable Coastal Areas (CVCA) and managed with the involvement of coastal communities including fisher folk who depend on coastal resources for their sustainable livelihood.