New Delhi: The Coastal Zone Management Authorities of States have been granted the powers to directly grant permission for activities connected to boat jetties, seawalls, groynes, and bunds in areas coming under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ).
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has incorporated these changes in the amendment to the rules framed under the Coastal Protection Act of 2019.
The changes in the regulations pertain to the condition that the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests is the competent authority to grant permission, on the recommendation of the State Coastal Zone Management Authority, for any activity coming under areas in Coastal Regulation Zone -1 and Coastal Regulation Zone – 4.
With regard to projects coming under the category of activities likely to cause environmental impact, the recommendation by the State Coastal Zone Management Authority should be submitted to the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) or to the Union Government.
However, the Central Government will take decisions on projects that do not fall under the jurisdiction of the environment impact assessment rules but are in areas in CRZ-1 and CRZ-4. At the same time, the Central Government is empowered to decide on atomic and defence projects in the area.
Under the rules, a decision should be taken within 60 days, if applications are received with due recommendations for permissible projects in the area.
The administrations of the Union Territories of Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands can draft the rules under the Integrated Island Management Plan (IIMP) for projects in small islands in their jurisdiction.
It has been made clear that the new regulations will not be effective until the recommendation is submitted to the Central Government, and that, instead, the rules under the Coastal Protection Regulations of 2011 will be in force.
Under the amendment made to the Island Coastal Zone Regulation, the traditional residents of coastal areas do not have to obtain prior permission for collecting coastal materials as feed for domestic animals and poultry birds.
The map of the coastal regulation zone will be authorised by agencies recognised by the government and the areas coming under the vulnerable coastal areas will be decided by the regional centres of the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management.
Temporary huts, sand mining allowed at tidal regions
The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has brought in significant amendments to the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification of 2019, which bring much relief to people living in coastal regions.
For instance, there will be no restrictions henceforth on building temporary huts with adequate precautions in tidal regions located at Coastal Regulation Zones (CRZ). Such constructions will be allowed only during non-monsoon seasons and the huts cannot be used during the monsoon. However, they can be maintained during the rainy season.
Another amendment relates to removal of sand from tidal regions. From now on, permission will be granted to take this sand only to people traditionally living along the coast. They can mine sand with non-mechanized boats or baskets. Every year, the state government has to give permission for the purpose. The government also should notify the areas from where the sand could be removed, the days when the work may take place and quantity of sand allowed to be mined, says the amendment.
Oil, gas and mining
Meanwhile, the proposal in the draft rules to waive the need to seek permission for carrying out oil, natural gas and other mining activities in CRZ areas has been dropped in final notification. This proposal had attracted widespread protests from organisations representing fisher-folk.
Similar amendments have been introduced in the notification for CRZ regions on islands also.