Cong manifesto promises reversal of CRZ rules

Cong manifesto promises reversal of CRZ rules

Congress President Rahul Gandhi, senior party leaders Sonia Gandhi, AK Antony and Congress General Secretary K C Venugopal release party's manifesto for Lok Sabha polls 2019, in New Delhi. PTI photo

Principal opposition Congress on Tuesday promised to reverse the controversial Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules, brought out by the Narendra Modi government just before the end of its term, if the former wins the 2019 Parliamentary election.

The new CRZ and Island Protection Zone rules — notified in January and March respectively — carry provisions to open up the beaches and coastal habitations to more commercial and developmental activities. Green activists have petitioned the court against the new CRZ rules.

“Congress promises to protect the coastal zones of the country. Recent steps that diluted the coastal zone regulations will be reversed. The coast will be preserved without affecting the livelihood opportunities of fishing community,” the grand old party says in its manifesto.

The new CRZ rules overwrite the CRZ-2011, brought out by the Manmohan Singh government to protect the coast from heavy tourist pressure and unwanted commercial activities.

Congress says it recognises air pollution as a national health emergency and would significantly strengthen the National Clean Air Programme in order to urgently tackle the pollution problem.

On the recent controversy surrounding the status of traditional forest dwellers, Congress promises that the distortions that have crept into the text and the implementation of the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 and the Forest Rights Act, 2006 will be removed and the original purposes behind enacting such acts would be restored and enforced.

The Narendra Modi government recently faced severe criticism when its lawyers remained aloof from a legal dispute in the Supreme Court on the residential status of the tribes and other forest dwellers. Following the row, the Centre and several State governments filed review petitions in the top court.