The government intends to provide relief to the fishing community and impose strict restrictions on development near coastal areas through the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification for India’s 7,500-km-long coastline.
The environment ministry on Thursday issued a concept note and draft CRZ notification identifying rights of fishermen that include fish-drying yards, traditional boat-building yards and fish-curing facilities close to coastal areas. It also permits the government to provide basic drinking water and sanitation facilities to traditional farmers near coasts.
In the proposed rules, India’s coastline has been divided into five zones — ecologically sensitive, built up municipal
areas, rural areas, aquatic areas and areas requiring special consideration — as against four in the existing regulations.
Aquatic areas — defined as sea area up to 12 nautical areas — is the addition.
Mumbai, Kerala, Goa and the Sunderbans, besides other ecologically sensitive zones, have been categorised as special areas, thanks to huge development along coastal areas and unique bio-diversity.
The concept note seeks a special dispensation for coastal areas in Greater Mumbai and Navi Mumbai to protect the mangrove areas and redevelop some existing buildings to protect them from high tides.
In a bid to check private builders, the note says that private building projects in coastal areas of Mumbai will be considered only if they are supported by public finance for housing.
As for Kerala, the ministry proposes to reduce the no development zone from existing 200 meters to 50 meters considering that 2,150 people per km live in coastal areas of the state.