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Coastal zone regulations to become an Act soon?

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The much-amended coastal regulation zone notification could soon be replaced by an Act of Parliament, preventing frequent instances of one-off exceptions to the rules.

At a meeting with leaders from the fishing community on Wednesday, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh “agreed that the Ministry will start working on replacing the notification with an Act of Parliament,” according to the National Fishworkers Forum (NFF). The NFF had been holding consultations with the Environment Ministry this month following protests against the latest draft CRZ notification.

The CRZ notification of 1991 has been amended at least 25 times, often to allow a single industry or infrastructure project to bypass coastal norms meant to protect the vital ecosystem. A case in point is the Navi Mumbai airport which was proposed in 2000, in blatant indifference to the fact that an airport at the site would violate CRZ rules.

After the project was approved by the Cabinet, the government got around the environmental hurdle by simply amending the notification in 2009 just to allow the airport to be constructed there.

Unlike a notification, which can be amended endlessly by its nodal Ministry, any change to an Act of Parliament would have to be cleared by Parliament itself.

The NFF says that Mr. Ramesh has also agreed to make modifications in the draft CRZ notification of 2010 in order to increase the representation of the fishing community in various coastal authorities, improve the provision for fishermen's housing and tighten the regulations for industries to be set up on the coast.

However, the NFF could not convince the Minister to remove provisions for installing nuclear plants on the coast, in spite of the current strong protests — by the fishing community, among others — against the Jaitapur nuclear plant to be set up on the Maharashtra coast.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 1:51:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Coastal-zone-regulations-to-become-an-Act-soon/article15613084.ece

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