In a new order, the Environment Ministry under Prime Minister Narendra Modi will soon replace the existing 2011 notification of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) that manages all activities taking place on the coastline of India. The new order that will soon be implemented by the government will be called Marine and Coastal Regulation Zone (MCRZ) notification, according to report in the Indian Express. This move of the government comes with an aim to make important changes in the way it governs the coast and also to remove the ban on reclamation of land all over the coast line including the ecologically sensitive areas along the shores and to use it for others grounds like commercial, entertainment and even for tourism activities.
According to the Environment Ministry, the ecologically sensitive areas on the shores have ‘tremendous tourism potential’ and the coasts that have remained unexploited because of the restrictions in the CRZ regime but now it can be used as a wildlife reserves. States of Kerala, Karnataka and Goa have been asking for such changes as they believe that these places are neglected, getting destroyed, being encroached and are even becoming dumping grounds. This decision has been taken after a recommendation report that was submitted by the Shailesh Nayak Committee in 2015, the report stated that the existing CRZ regime needed changes.
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According to a report in the Indian Express, the draft of the new MCRZ notification will allow new fish processing units to be set up, necessity of obtaining environmental clearances will be removed for constructing housing and other infrastructure units for local fishermen and allowance will be given for facilities that are meant for patrolling and vigilance activities of coastal or marine police.
As far as the ecologically sensitive areas along the shores are concerned, only those development activities that fulfill ‘national interest’ like- coastal roads, defence structures, sewage treatment plants, temporary tourism facilities and basic infrastructure facilities for local communities will be permitted.