Coastal hazard line okayed by Cabinet

A hazard line broadly is the maximum distance a wave – both regular and tidal – can travel.

It would be drawn as a part of the World Bank assisted Rs 1,156 crore integrated coastal zone management project, approved by the Union Cabinet on Thursday. Some vulnerable sections among the coastal community may be relocated after the completion of the project.

The Centre in the past had proposed commercial and development activities close to the shore without even first drawing the hazard line, being demanded by  green activists for a long time.

“The line would be drawn keeping factors like shoreline change, the distance travelled by tides and regular waves as well as sea level rise in mind. Once the line is drawn, in extreme cases communities living close to the hazard line may be relocated,” Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said after the Cabinet meeting.

The Survey of India will undertake the elaborate and extensive exercise using aerial surveys and satellite imageries. The two-year project will cost Rs 125 crore.
Ramesh said hazard mapping would help in protecting coastal communities and infrastructure, but some security related issues on mapping were to be sorted out before beginning the exercise.

The integrated coastal zone management project aims at improving the coastal environment along specific stretches in Gujarat, Orissa and West Bengal by bringing in better management practices for pollution control, sewage treatment, anti sea-erosion measures, erecting embankments and protection of hot-spots.

Asked about possible changes in the 1991 coastal zone regulation notification, the minister said that a new coastal zone regulation (CRZ-2010) – drafted by the Union Environment Ministry after consultations with stakeholders – would be made public within the “next couple of weeks”.

“As a part of the new CRZ, we will be proposing a legislation to protect fishermen’s traditional rights on fishing. The draft law comes from the recommendations of a committee headed by M S Swaminathan that looked into the coastal zone management issues after the 2004 tsunami,” Ramesh said.

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