ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Protecting India's Coastline

The pre-draft Coastal Regulation Zone Notification of 2010 is a weak attempt to strengthen the 1991 rules.

The Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification of 1991, e nacted under the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986 aimed at controlling and minimising environmental d amage to sensitive coastal areas due to unplanned development. As a result, bays, estuaries, creeks, rivers, coastal s tretches of seas and backwaters affected by tidal action (landwards side) up to 500 metres from the High Tide Line (HTL), and the land between Low Tide Line (LTL) and HTL came under the CRZ. However, the 1991 notification was rendered largely ineffective due to poor enforcement. Further, vested interests managed to bring in 25 amendments that gradually hacked away at the principle that only activities that require water front and foreshore facilities should be permitted in the coastal areas.

The draft Coastal Management Zone (CMZ) notification that was issued in 2008 was supposed to address the problems in the CRZ of 1991, but what it did contain was even weaker p rovisions, which had been drawn up with limited public consultations. The CMZ notification of 2008 was fortunately a llowed to lapse in 2009, based on the recommendations of the M S Swaminathan Committee and following sustained pressure from fishing community organisations and civil society. The process to draft a revised notification was then initiated – with the understanding that the CRZ notification of 1991 would be retained as the basic framework, but would be strengthened.

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