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Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms

Topics Covered: Conservation and pollution related issues.

Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms:


Context:

The Supreme Court has extended the mandate of one-member committee of retired Kerala High Court judge Justice K Balakrishnan Iyer constituted to determine the compensation paid to flat owners of Maradu municipality of Kochi district, whose houses were demolished for being in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms in the state.

What’s the issue? (Just try to know background of the issue):

On September 23, last year the top court had observed that illegal construction in coastal areas of Kerala is a “colossal loss” to the environment and expressed shock over a spate of unauthorised structures coming up at Kochi’s Maradu.

  • Coming down heavily on the Kerala government for not complying with its orders to demolish four apartment complexes built in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), the top court had asked the chief secretary to conduct a survey to gauge the extent of devastation caused to nature.
  • On May 8, 2019 the apex court had directed that such buildings be removed within a month’s times, which were constructed in a notified CRZ, which was part of the tidally-influenced water body in Kerala.

What are CRZ norms?

Under the section 3 of Environment Protection Act, 1986 of India, Coastal Regulation Zone notification was issued in February 1991 for the first time.

  • In 2018-19, fresh Rules were issued, which aimed to remove certain restrictions on building, streamlined the clearance process, and aimed to encourage tourism in coastal areas.

Objectives:

  • They restrict certain kinds of activities — like large constructions, setting up of new industries, storage or disposal of hazardous material, mining, reclamation and bunding — within a certain distance from the coastline.

What are the restrictions?

  • The restrictions depend on criteria such as the population of the area, the ecological sensitivity, the distance from the shore, and whether the area had been designated as a natural park or wildlife zone.
  • The latest Rules have a no-development zone of 20 m for all islands close to the mainland coast, and for all backwater islands in the mainland.

For the so-called CRZ-III (Rural) areas, two separate categories have been stipulated.

  1. In the densely populated rural areas (CRZ-IIIA) with a population density of 2,161 per sq km as per the 2011 Census, the no-development zone is 50 m from the high-tide level, as against the 200 m stipulated earlier.
  2. CRZ-IIIB category (rural areas with population density below 2,161 per sq km) areas continue to have a no-development zone extending up to 200 m from the high-tide line.

Implementation:

While the CRZ Rules are made by the Union environment ministry, implementation is to be ensured by state governments through their Coastal Zone Management Authorities.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are CRZ Norms?
  2. Definition of CRZ.
  3. Classification of Zones.
  4. Categories under CRZ-III (Rural) areas.

Mains Link:

What do the draft  CRZ rules imply from the perspective of environmental justice and distributive justice.Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.