Centre notifies new set of coastal regulations

The environment ministry on Friday notified the long-pending Coastal Zone Regulations, changing the regime that manages development and construction along the 7,500 km coastline of the country. Environment minister Jairam Ramesh announced the notification and said state level authorities would be given four months to identify all contraventions of CRZ rules and another four months to take action against those found guilty. The ministry's attempts to change the 1991 regulations under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, had run into rough weather. After reports of two committees and public consultation, the ministry finally prepared Coastal Zone Regulations 2010. The notification will now bring under its protective cover seawaters up to 12 nautical miles as well as “tidal influenced water bodies”. The existing rules did not regulate these water outstretches. The new regulations classify coastline into “high erosion areas”, “medium erosion area” and “low or stable coast”. New ports will not be permitted in high erosion prone areas. In the medium erosion prone areas, ports can come up but only after comprehensive environmental impact assessment studies. The rules also provide exceptions for Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Kerala, Goa and the Sundarbans. In case of Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, the rules allow redevelopment of specified buildings in what would otherwise be a no-development zone. Private developer based building projects in coastal regulation zones will also be considered but subject to providing public finance for housing.

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