Centre approves new coastal zone plan for Mumbai to free up more space for buildings, residential societies

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October 01, 2021 4:01 PM

The ban on developmental activities which earlier applied up to 100 metre from the High Tide Line will now only be applied up to 50 metre opening up the surplus space at all the coastal areas of the city

Principal Secretary (Environment) Manisha Mahiskar was quoted as saying by the Indian Express that the new CRZ policy of the city will now be implemented with the final notification of the CZMP by the centre.

The Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) for Mumbai has finally got a go-ahead from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. With the approval of the new coastal zone plan, the ban on developmental activities which earlier applied up to 100 metre from the High Tide Line will now only be applied up to 50 metre opening up the surplus space at all the coastal areas of the city, the Indian Express reported. The decision is of consequence as several residential societies and slums in the city will be legally allowed to undertake redevelopment plans at the surplus space opened up by the new coastal area plan.

It is pertinent to note that the new coastal zone management plan approved by the centre had remained in limbo since 2019. The center had approved the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2019 issued by the state government delinking the Floor Space Index from the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) norms. The approval had paved the way for the residential societies, slums and other developmental projects to undertake the redevelopment plans in the freed up space. However, the happiness among the stakeholders was short-lived as the central government linked the CRZ notification with the Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) maps. The linking of the CRZ notification with the CZMP and the final approval of the same from the Environment Ministry took another two years.

Principal Secretary (Environment) Manisha Mahiskar was quoted as saying by the Indian Express that the new CRZ policy of the city will now be implemented with the final notification of the CZMP by the centre. While the residential societies and slums will now be allowed to further expand their projects closer to the sea, the development also comes in the wake of several climate change reports highlighting the vulnerability of Mumbai city to rising sea levels. Environmentalist Debi Goenka who is associated with the Conservation Action of Trust told the Indian Express that Mumbai Municipal Commissioner had recently admitted that 80 percent of the Mumbai city will be submerged under water by 2050. Goenka further said that it would be interesting to see how the hazard lines have been demarcated in the new Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) maps.

Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms are one of the crucial environmental laws in the country which restrict the expansion of harmful industries, human habitations, infrastructural projects in the sensitive coastal boundaries which host indispensable aquatic life, coral reefs, turtle breeding space among others. Above all the expansion of human habitation well into the coastal boundaries is dangerous as the area becomes vulnerable during cyclones, tides and other natural phenomena.

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