Coastal states use 20-yr-old management plans

Coastal states use 20-yr-old management plans

Coastal states still rely on a 20-year-old plan to regulate development activities along the coastline as the replacement plan did not materialise even after four years.

With no signs of the new coastal zone management plan on the horizon, the old one cleared by the environment ministry in 1996 was being extended repeatedly. But that too expired in January 2017 after the fourth extension.

“The last extension expired for the fourth time on January 31, 2017. The environment ministry is silent on yet another extension as a result of which coastal states don’t have a management plan with them at the moment,” sources told DH.

The existing plans are based on the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification 1991. When the old norms were modified in 2011, states were asked to finalise their new coastal zone management plans within two years based on the CRZ 2011 notification. The new plans, however, were to be made once the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management, Chennai, comes out with the new high tide and low tide lines. But the institute was tasked for the job only in March 2014 and till date there are no signs of the new tidal marks.

As the alignments of the high and low tide lines shifted in the last 20 years, the new plans may be substantially different from the 1996 ones.

“Notification of the high tide line/low tide line, ecologically sensitive areas falling under CRZ-1 and hazard line mapping are underway,” said a ministry official.

Despite the absence of the new management plans to look after the coast, the ministry has in the last three years issued eight amendments to change important areas in the CRZ 2011 notification, paving the way for construction of Shivaji memorial off Mumbai and tall hotel buildings in coastal towns. The amendments were issued on the basis of a report by an expert committee,
headed by space scientist Shailesh Nayak, who was secretary in the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

On Wednesday, Environment Minister Anil Dave launched a web portal for obtaining Coastal Regulation Zone clearances, but did not comment on the delay for having the new coastal zone management plan.