Environmentalists in the city have raised objections to the draft Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2018, saying it has diluted the norms while benefitting builders. “The new rules will open areas like Vasai, Virar, Palghar and Mira Bhayandar to more development and new townships will come up here. If sanctioned, there will be no sacred areas under the CRZ,” said Stalin Dayanand, director, NGO Vanashakti. The new rules have mandated that for tidal influenced water bodies, CRZ will be between the High Tide Line to 50 metres (or width of the creek, whichever is less), instead of the earlier 100 metres.
The salient features of the draft CRZ Notification, 2018 and changes with respect to CRZ Notification, 2011, are as under:
CRZ limits on land along the tidal influenced water bodies has been proposed to be reduced from 100 meters or the width of the creek, whichever is less, to 50 meters or the width of the creek, whichever is less.
A No Development Zone (NDZ) of 20 meters has been proposed to be stipulated for all Islands close to the mainland coast and for all Backwater Islands in the mainland.
For CRZ-III areas, two separate categories have been proposed viz.:
CRZ-III A – Densely populated rural areas with a population density of 2161 per square kilometre as per 2011 Census. Such areas shall have an NDZ of 50 meters from the HTL as against 200 meters from the HTL stipulated in the CRZ Notification, 2011.
CRZ-III B – Rural areas with the population density of below 2161 per square kilometre as per 2011 Census. Such areas shall continue to have an NDZ of 200 meters from the HTL.
Ease of procedures: Only such projects/activities, which are located in the CRZ-I & IV areas, shall be dealt with for CRZ clearance by the MoEF&CC. For all other project activities located in CRZ-II/III areas, CRZ clearance shall be considered at the level of the CZMA.
As per CRZ, 2011 Notification, for CRZ-II areas, Floor Space Index (FSI) or the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) had been frozen at 1991 Development Control Regulation (DCR) levels. In the Draft CRZ, 2018 Notification, it has been proposed to de-freeze the same and permits FSI for construction projects.
Regulated limestone mining is proposed to be permitted, subject to strict Environmental safeguards, in areas adequately above the height of HTL, based on recommendations of reputed National Institutes in the Mining field.
The norms also prevent the disposal of plastic into the coastal waters and mandate the compensatory plantation of three times the mangrove area destroyed for development works. Mangroves in private land will not require a buffer zone.