Coastal Regulation Zone Norms Are Supposed to Protect the Environment, But Here Are 5 Ways in Which They Fail


On 8 May 2019, the Supreme Court ordered the demolition of four residential complexes in Maradu, Kochi, for violating the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms. In July 2019, the Bombay High Court stayed construction on Mumbai’s coastal road project because the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) did not carry out an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), and a proper scientific study on the impact of the project on the coastal ecosystem was absent.

The first CRZ notification of 1991 signified the government’s intent to protect the coastal environment and its resource-dependent population by regulating land use along the coast. With the liberalisation of the economy in the subsequent years, the notification saw multiple amendments, where provisions were diluted or circumvented to promote “economic growth.”


“Development” has historically taken precedence over

preservation of the coastal ecosystem. 


In 2018, the Indian government called the CRZ notification an opportunity to “see and enjoy the beauty of the mighty seas,” where enhanced economic activity would “rejuvenate coastal activity while also reducing their vulnerabilities.” 




The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) in 2011 had introduced a new CRZ notification which was supposed to take into consideration the rights of local coastal inhabitants. Additionally, the notification called for coastal area within 500 metres of the high tide line (HTL) to be classified into the following categories: 



Click on the cards to find out how effective CRZ norms are.




This feature is based on Hemantkumar A Chouhan, D Parthasarathy, and Sarmistha Pattanaik’s 2016 article “Coastal Ecology and Fishing Community in Mumbai: CRZ Policy, Sustainability and Livelihoods” which looks at the impact of the CRZ notifications on Mumbai’s indigenous Koli community.


Read More:

  • Carving Out the Coasts | Editorial, 2019
  • Coastal Regulation Zone, 2018: Into the Sea with Regulations | J Jeffrey Immanuel, Anshul Singh, and N C Narayanan, 2019
  • Contested Coasts: The Draft CRZ Notification, 2018 | Preeta Dhar, 2018

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