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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Notification of new Coastal Regulation Zone planned

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Sea along Indian coasts to be kept under CRZ guidelines
The Government of India is now serious to bring the Indian coastline under the ambit of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) guidelines and to make the provisions of enforcement stronger.

The government however is in a mood to remain lenient towards fishermen community in different coastal areas like biosphere reserves, Sunderbans, Goa, Kerala, and Mumbai. All these provisions are to be made through amendments in the CRZ notification, 1991. The amended notification is to be issued within the current year.

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has invited comments on the pre-draft paper before May 31, 2010. It is important to note that the Draft Coastal Management Zone, 2008 was lapsed after strong objections by coastal communities and fishermen and these amendments have been done after the same.

The notification of 1991 included land regions only while the current notification has to cover the sea up to 12 nautical  miles and the water areas of tidal influenced water bodies under its jurisdiction. According to current notification the coastal zone will include ecologically sensitive areas, built up municipal areas and rural areas, aquatic areas (CRZ IV) and areas requiring special considerations. The special considerations are to be made for Greater and Navi Mumbai including 136 slums within 500 meters of the coast and the heavily populated islands in Kerala’s backwaters. Special considerations are also to be given for Sunderbans for which Integrated Management Plan has been designed to protect its mangroves and to provide infra structure facilities for the local communities.

The government in view of representations from the fishing communities has decided to allow the construction of fish drying yards, auction halls, net mending yards, traditional boat building yards, ice- crushing units and fish curing facilities in the No-development zone of rural CRZ areas- reports The Hindu in its April 23, 2010 issue.

As per the report classification of coastal stretches and revision of hazard mapping mechanisms are to be done under the current notification, taking into account the rise of sea level and changes of shoreline. The coastal stretches are to be classified on the basis of their vulnerability to soil erosion and arrangements are to be made to provide safeguards for local communities during rise in the sea level.

All the concerned state governments have been asked to produce action plans for pollution control within six months. The Central Pollution Control Board will monitor the implementation of programmes supported by funds provided by the Central Government. The concept note of the government lays emphasis on strengthening of monitoring and enforcement provisions and simplification of clearance procedures to complete within deadlines laid down properly.

Key Words: CRZ, Indian Coasts, Enforcement, new initiatives, amendment, draft paper, CRZ notification 1991, draft paper, Coastal Management Zone, CRZ IV, Greater and Navi Mumbai, slums, heavily polluted islands, Kerala’s Back Waters, Integrated Management Plan,, fishing communities, No-Development Zone, rural CRZ areas, sea level rise, hazard mapping mechanism, safeguards, state government, Central Pollution Control Board, monitoring and enforcement provisions, concept note

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