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

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Carving Out the Coasts

The CRZ, 2018 prioritises the pursuit of profits at the cost of the environment and fishers’ livelihoods.


The Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), 2018 notification approved by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has revoked some of its stringent provisions to permit the expansion of development activities into the environmentally sensitive areas (ESAs), hitherto deemed inaccessible by law. The salient features of the new policy include the reduction of the CRZ limits and the no-development zone (NDZ) area, and the classification of coastal zone areas, according to the density of population. For the setting up of “strategic projects,” for defence and public utilities, even the most ecologically critical areas that fall under the CRZ I classification have not been excluded. Nonetheless, what does the new CRZ rule imply from the perspective of environmental justice as well as distributive justice, with respect to the fishers?

By facilitating the large-scale intrusion of commercial and industrial activities into the fragile coastal territories, the new CRZ policy would upset the prevailing human–ecological balance. This would lead to further degradation of marine ecosystems, and disrupt the livelihoods of resource-dependent populations, especially artisanal fishers living off the coasts. This, at a time when coastal erosion and the hazards posed by the rising sea level due to climate change have already endangered the lives of populations inhabiting low-lying areas across the globe. Regions that lie along India’s west coast and those adjoining the river deltas on the east coast are known to be amongst the most vulnerable areas. Whose concerns does the new notification, then, seek to promote?

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Updated On : 29th Jan, 2019
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