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Friday, January 14, 2011


(The writer is a former Indian civil servant, presently working as corporate management consultant and legal advisor taxation, to leading corporates across India.)

(This article is a summarized version of the concept note released by the the union ministry of forests and environment with brief point to point analysis of the likely impact on Mumbai and other cities /coastal states-written on the occasion of forthcoming world environment day .)

The Coastal Regulation Zone 2010 is a very important piece of legislation, affecting 10 million fisherfolk who depend directly on the sea for their livelihood. It mandates norms and regulations for India’s coastline, which runs for 7,500kms, is inhabited by approximately 25% of our population. Almost all of these individuals live within 50kms of the shoreline. The Ministry had earlier in 1991 issued the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 1991 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Basically this CRZ 1991 notification, which is still in force, seeks to protect and regulate the use of the land within 500mts of the coast and 100mts along the tidal influenced water bodies. All developmental activities proposed to be located in this zone are regulated under the Notification. It classifies the coastal stretch of the country into CRZ-I (ecologically sensitive areas), CRZ-II (built up municipal areas), CRZ-III (rural areas) and CRZ-IV (Islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar).

In order to examine the issues of implementation of the 1991 Notification the Ministry constituted an Expert Committee under the Chairmanship of Prof. M. S. Swaminathan in 2004. The Committee submitted its Report in February, 2005. The main recommendation of this Committee was to issue the draft Coastal Management Zone (CMZ) Notification, 2008 to replace the 1991 Notification.

However the draft CMZ Notification, 2008 attracted a large number of representations especially from the fisherfolk and the local communities. Vide legal notice dated 27th may 2008, the undersigned had served legal notice proposing amendments to the draft CMZ notification that hurt community interests to both the centre and state government departments seeking directions as per law to stay the proposed TRZ in Gorai uttan that would destroy the cultural heritage of the traditional fishing community, the notice also sought to protect the ten heritage churches in accordance to international conventions. The legal notice pointed out that the proposed TRZ violated various provisions of SEZ Act, environment acts and binding UN conventions. The precise international law relied upon and precise amendment suggested by me especially pertaining to TRZ and the heritage churches was as follows- “Existing cultural property as defined in the UNESCO Recommendation Concerning the Preservation of Cultural Property Endangered by Public or Private Works at its meeting in Paris from 15 October to 20 November 1968, at its fifteenth session would be adequately maintained and protected, especially long existing local churches, temples, mosques etc so as to harmoniously synchronise the coastal development without hurting the religious sentiments and cultural identity of the local coastal populace, especially in projects involving notified tourism zones.” The Maharashtra Government after few weeks of my legal notice scrapped the SEZ-TRZ-tourism recreation zone project which it had sought to do jointly with Esselworld. The final nail in the coffin was delivered by Bombay High court ruling in favour of the local residents in a major land dispute with the Esselworld group. The TRZ proposal has been scrapped and is now replaced by an eco friendly mangrove park proposal costing about Rs. 100 crores, without any damage to the environment. The separate Esselworld SEZ proposal for an amusement park. is now being reportedly contested in Supreme court against the Bombay High court decision in favour of the local fishermen opposing the project. So far the state govt. has not indicated any collaboration in the standalone Esselworld amusement park SEZ proposal.

ABOUT 52 representations were taken on record including my representation to Union Environment Ministry cum legal notice To state of Maharashtra represented By chief secretary and others to refrain from proceeding with proposed TRZ scheme till final decision taken by the union environment ministry in the matter . In order to examine the issues raised in all these representations, the Ministry once again constituted another four-member Committee under the Chairmanship of Prof. MS Swaminathan in June 2009. The Report of the Committee to let the draft CMZ Notification of 2008 lapse and instead strengthen the CRZ Notification of 1991was received in the Ministry on 16th July, 2009. and was accepted by the Government. This was a major victory for the environmentalists, since many proposals favouring the industrial-builders lobby were dropped, and the old stringent CRZ notification 1991 allowed to continue.

THE Ministry Of Environment And Forests , Government of India, now proposes to issue a new Coastal Regulation Zone notification 2010 detailing new provisions that are proposed to be incorporated in the existing Coastal Regulation Zone notification 1991. Public Comments on the pre-draft CRZ 2010 were invited by 30th May, 2010. Subsequently after due processing of comments and further legal procedure the draft CRZ Notification, 2010 shall be issued under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 inviting suggestions and objections from the people within sixty days from the date of issue of the draft notification. Thereafter the draft CRZ Notification, 2010 shall be finalized and notified in Official Gazette. Public comments to the draft legislation, once finalized, would be further taken on record before the new legislation is notified.

SOME IMPORTANT AMENDMENTS affecting Mumbai city, its hinterland, and neighbouring coastal states, SUGGESTED TO THE CRZ NOTIFICATION 1991 IN NEW DRAFT CRZ NOTIFICATION 2010

The following important changes which will have a major impact on the coastal community, , are proposed in the draft CRZ Notification of 2010.


a) . Preparation of Action Plans: The 1991 Notification does not lay down adequate measures for the control of pollution. The State and UT Governments shall be directed to prepare an Action Plan to mitigate discharge of untreated waste, effluents, sewage including solid waste in a time bound manner. Necessary budget to deal with pollution related activities shall be provided by the State/UT Government. Respective pollution control boards shall monitor the implementation. This change has great impact on solid waste management, landfills, sewage systems in all our cities, and specifically for the agitation in mira bhayandar and other places on the stinking landfill issue , landfill in deonar and mulund, dumping of waste and sewage ,.

b) Classification of Erosion-Prone Areas- the new Notification will provide for classifying the coastal stretches into “high erosion areas”, “medium erosion area” and “low or stable coast”. No projects would be permitted in the high erosion prone areas, while, in the medium erosion prone areas comprehensive Environment Impact Assessment shall be stipulated. Many of our coastal areas including goa, mangalore,kerala etc and especially uttan gorai and parts of Mumbai and Thane will stand protected since they are high erosion areas.

c) New Classification Scheme: The CRZ Notification has four classifications [CRZ-I (ecologically sensitive areas), CRZ-II (built up municipal areas) CRZ-III (rural areas) and CRZ-IV (Islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar)]. The amendments will re-classify the same as CRZ-I (ecologically sensitive areas), CRZ -II (built up municipal areas), CRZ-III (rural areas), CRZ-IV (aquatic area) and CRZ-V (areas requiring special consideration)

d) Special Cases: The CRZ notification provides special consideration for the following –select list of the entire special cases is analysed.

i) Greater Mumbai and Navi Mumbai A sizeable population of Mumbai and Navi Mumbai live in slums abutting the coastal stretches. These slums are not only polluting the environment but are also at great risk from being so close to the shoreline. About 136 slums areas exist within 500 mts from the coast in

Mumbai and Navi Mumbai .Redevelopment of slums, old buildings, and gaothans with public finance-to avoid exploitation by private builders would be allowed. Increased FSI would automatically accrue.Cluster development and revamp of all old buildings in city and suburbs , hitherto not possible now possible, provided built thru public finance and govt. agencies to safeguard any scope for misuse of this facility by pvt.builders.

ii) Construction of stilt roads to protect Mangroves in Mumbai: In some of the urban areas classified as CRZ-II, there is large mangrove growth especially in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Goa etc. Due to expansion of the urban infrastructure these mangroves are systematically being destroyed especially for laying of peripheral roads or missing links. The amendments will provide for construction of roads on stilts over the mangroves that would not affect the growth of the mangroves and the tidal flow as well. However, no benefit of CRZ-II shall accrue on the landward side of such roads. This would help our metro rail projects, and also Navi Mumbai Airport project to get necessary clearances at last.this would also enable save homes of many of the goan residents having more than a decade or two old houses falling within the CRZ –I prohibited zone otherwise slated for demolition.

Iii ) Critical Vulnerable Coastal Areas (CVCA) Further, the local communities face hardship due to lack of infrastructure facilities. An integrated management plan is proposed to be drawn up for Sunderbans and such ecologically important areas such as Gulf of Khambat and Gulf of Kutchchh in Gujarat, Malvan, Vasai- Manori, Achra-Ratnagiri, in Maharashtra ; Karwar and Coondapur in Karnataka, Vembanad in Kerala, Bhaitarkanika in Orissa, Coringam, East Godavari and Krishna in Andhra Pradesh . These areas would be declared as Critical Vulnerable Coastal Areas (CVCA) for which an integrated management plan prepared with the consultation of local communities. Two great impact-all local fishermen communities on coast to be involved in decision making process. Vasai, Manori, parts of goa, karwar, kundapur will be protected. Thickly populated areas like 100 islands in kerala, and parts of goa will be benefited due to special concessions shown to aid development.

iv) . Goa –The state of Goa is divided into three divisions, the coastal plain, mid

upland region and Western Ghats. The upland region close to the Western Ghats

are currently occupied by the mining activities, whereas the entire Western Ghats

region is identified as one of the Biodiversity hotspot areas and protected under

the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. Therefore, separate Goa state specific provisions with stringent regulatory mechanism for sustainable development and ecological protection of coastal areas are to be formulated.

v) Protecting fishermen interests-Facilities for Fisherfolk: The traditional occupation of the population living along the coast is mainly the fishing and allied activities. These fishing communities require basic infrastructure facilities for their livelihood. Keeping in view the difficulties faced by fishing communities, basic facilities such as fish drying yards, auction halls, net mending yards, traditional boat building yards, ice crushing units, fish curing facilities etc., shall be provided in the No-Development Zone of CRZ-III areas .My amendment proposed , on similar bureaucratic jargon, was accepted –“ (v) All basic infrastructural facilities like provision of roads (including the internal roads) , potable and non-potable water additional facilities etc shall be strengthened, as these basic infrastructural facllities shall serve for the purpose of livelihood, communication, relief and evacuation measures particularly for fisher communities.” General demand on similar lines, cutting out the bureaucratic language was also made by many fishermen associations,. This will ensure that fishermen rights stand protected.

vi) Deadlines for Grant of Clearance: procedures have been drawn up and list of documents, studies / report, maps and the forms that need to be filled for obtaining clearance shall be indicated. A fixed time lines shall be provided for considering the project by the State Coastal Zone Management Authority which is forty five days after receipt of all the information and thereafter, sixty days for MoEF/State Government to accord clearance.

vii) Clearance process to be harmonised with EIA 2006 standards- housing projects of more than 20,000 sq mts would be considered under EIA

Notification, 2006 (by State Environment Impact Assessment Committee) after being recommended by the concerned CZMA, while for projects less than 20,000 sq mts, would be considered by the concerned State Coastal Zone Management Authority and clearance accorded by the State Government agencies such as Urban Department or Panchayat. This will enable many of our gaothans to get faster repair and rebuilding permissions, as also many of our city residents staying in old buildings in Mumbai to finally see their rebuilding permissions get CRZ clearances as a special case.

viii) Post Clearance Monitoring: Adequate emphasis is not give for post clearance monitoring of project. Monitoring procedures and transparency of the compliance to the conditions shall be clearly laid down. Many mines and power projects will have to close down, The ministry and courts have already ordered many projects and mining stopped for failure fulfill conditionalities. May save vasai-gorai belt , hinterland of Mumbai, goa and other coastal states from illegal mines and illegal sand mining as a classic case of its impact.

ix) . New Provisions for Enforcement:. Necessary provision shall be included in the proposed amendments to identify all the violations in a time bound manner and action initiated by the CZMAs. Powers delegated under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, to the Authorities especially the State Coastal Zone Management Authority and National Coastal Zone Management Authority shall be indicated in the amendment.

x) Removal of Duplication for obtaining clearance : those projects requiring

EIA Notification will be accorded clearance under the EIA Notification only after

obtaining recommendations from the concerned State Coastal Zone Management Authority. The other projects which do not attract EIA Notification but requires CRZ clearance, such projects would be considered only under CRZ only.


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