top of page
  • Writer's pictureSajan Janardanan

CRZ 2019: Objections to the Draft Kerala Coastal Zone Management Plan

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

The Draft Kerala Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) is currently undergoing a crucial phase of public hearing, providing an opportunity for individuals and organizations to voice their objections and concerns. The CZMP is a significant regulatory framework that aims to manage and protect the coastal areas of Kerala in accordance with the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification of 2019. The CRZ Notification categorizes coastal zones into four distinct zones, namely CRZ I, CRZ II, CRZ III, and CRZ IV. It is important to understand the specifics of each zone, particularly CRZ II and CRZ III, as these are the zones where constructions are permissible for the general public.

Zone II comprises the municipal or legally designated urban areas that have been developed up to or close to the shoreline. In this zone, constructions are allowed only on the landward side of the existing road or existing authorized structures. The aim is to ensure that further development is carried out in a manner that does not encroach upon the coastal area or pose a threat to the ecological balance. These regulations help maintain the existing urban infrastructure while protecting the coastal environment.

Zone III encompasses land areas that are relatively undisturbed, primarily rural areas. Within Zone III, there are two subcategories, namely CRZ III A and CRZ III B, which are distinguished based on population density. In CRZ III A, where the population density exceeds 2161 persons per square kilometer, a 50-meter No Development Zone (NDZ) is required from the High Tide Line (HTL). In CRZ III B, where the population density is less than 2161 persons per square kilometer, the NDZ extends to 200 meters from the HTL. Additionally, within CRZ III, land areas up to 50 meters from the HTL, or the width of the creek, whichever is less, should be earmarked as the NDZ in the back water area where there are tidal effects.
Understanding the regulations specific to Zone II and Zone III is crucial for individuals and organizations participating in the public hearing. It enables stakeholders to assess the proposed CZMP in relation to their properties or interests and raise objections based on the appropriate zone classification. By comprehending these regulations and highlighting any discrepancies or concerns, the public can actively contribute to the development of a CZMP that ensures sustainable coastal management while addressing the needs of both coastal communities and the environment. In this article, we will delve into significant objections that should be considered by the general public when preparing their submissions for the public hearing.

1. Reclassification of Zones:

One of the primary objections to the CZMP is the classification of specific areas within the plan. It is important for individuals who own properties situated in areas classified as CRZ III but have undergone significant development to present evidence of such progress. Factors such as well-established infrastructure, drainage systems, educational institutions, and other essential facilities can justify a request for reclassification to CRZ II.

2. Ambiguity in CRZ II Construction Guidelines:

The CRZ 2019 Notification mentions that construction is permissible on the landward side of existing authorized fixed structures in CRZ II areas. However, it is unclear whether the existing structure should be within the same premises having the same survey number or in the structures situated in the adjacent properties within the CRZ II area. Clarification is needed and specific guidelines to be issued to ensure clarity and consistency in implementation and to avoid disputes at the time of issuance of building permits.

3. Lack of Definition for "Authorized Fixed Structures" in CRZ II:

A critical concern that must be raised is the lack of clarity in defining "Authorized Fixed Structures" in CRZ II, as per the CRZ Notification 2019. The draft CZMP fails to provide a clear explanation or definition for this term, which can lead to ambiguity and incorrect interpretations. It is crucial to precisely identify and outline what qualifies as an "Authorized Fixed Structure" to avoid any misunderstandings that may result in the rejection of construction approvals. For instance, if a seawall is considered an authorized fixed structure, it should be explicitly stated in an official document. Without a clear definition, it becomes challenging for the concerned officers to grant construction permits. It is essential to object to this ambiguity and call for precise guidelines to ensure transparent decision-making processes.

4. Reliance on Outdated or Inaccurate Data:

If the CZMP relies on outdated or inaccurate data it is imperative to object to its validity and reliability. Emphasizing the need for up-to-date information and accurate assessments of coastal areas will strengthen objections and urge the CZMA to revise the plan using the most current and reliable data available. Taking into account the most recent data regarding the development of Kerala, including infrastructure such as roads, electricity, water connections, educational institutions, and healthcare facilities, it becomes evident that all areas within the state, including the panchayats, deserve the same status as municipal areas in other states. Consequently, all panchayats in Kerala should be eligible for classification under CRZ II. Additionally, highlighting any discrepancies in population data, which is mainly used for classification of CRZ III A and CRZ III B, and the importance of using accurate figures can significantly impact the final plan.

5. Inadequate Consideration of Temporary Tourism Facilities:

Another objection that deserves attention is the lack of a comprehensive plan for temporary tourism facilities, as mentioned in the CZMP. It is crucial to highlight the significance of such facilities in supporting the tourism industry while ensuring their sustainability and minimal impact on the environment. Requesting the inclusion of a detailed and well-defined plan for temporary tourism infrastructure will enable the CZMP to align with the needs of both tourists and local businesses.

6. Buffer Zone and Private Mangroves:

A significant point of objection relates to the buffer zone regulations specified in the CZMP concerning mangrove areas. As per the notification, if mangroves exist in an area of 1000 square meters, a 50-meter buffer zone should be considered as a No Development Zone. However, it is important to note that this regulation is applicable only to mangroves located on government lands. Individuals must thoroughly examine the CZMP map to determine if the presence of mangroves and buffer zones is demarcated near their property.
In cases where mangroves are situated on private lands, it is essential to object to the inclusion of buffer zones in the CZMP. Private landowners should highlight that such buffer zones can impose unnecessary restrictions on their properties, hindering their ability to undertake development activities or utilize their land effectively. By raising this objection, individuals can emphasize the need for a differentiated approach to buffer zones based on the ownership of mangroves and advocate for the removal of buffer zones from the CZMP if mangroves are located on private lands.

7. Improper Demarcation of Drainages Connected to Creeks:

Another crucial objection to be raised during the public hearing is the improper demarcation of drainages connected to creeks. In some areas, the government has constructed drainages that ultimately connect to creeks or rivers with tidal effects, thereby making them subject to CRZ regulations. However, due to the limitations of satellite imagery used for mapping, these man-made drainages may be mistakenly identified as small creeks with tidal effects. As a result, the High Tide Line (HTL) could be inaccurately demarcated, leading to the imposition of a 50-meter No Development Zone (NDZ) along the entire stretch of these drainages. To ensure the accuracy of the Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP), it is essential for individuals to carefully examine the maps of their respective localities and identify any inaccurately demarcated drainages connected to creeks. By raising objections and providing evidence to rectify these discrepancies, we can contribute to a more precise CZMP that aligns with the actual natural features, avoids unnecessary restrictions, and promotes fair and sustainable coastal management practices.

The public hearing for the Draft Kerala Coastal Zone Management Plan presents a critical opportunity for concerned individuals and organizations to voice their objections. By focusing on objections related to reclassification of zones, lack of clarity on building approvals, reliance on outdated or inaccurate data, inadequate consideration of temporary tourism facilities, and buffer zones around private mangroves, the general public can effectively contribute to the development of a balanced and inclusive CZMP.

Active participation in the public hearing process ensures that the final plan safeguards the coastal environment, promotes sustainable development, and considers the concerns and needs of local communities and industries. It is crucial for individuals to thoroughly examine the CZMP, gather relevant evidence, and submit well-structured objections that address the key issues outlined above. By doing so, the public can play a vital role in shaping a CZMP that balances conservation, development, and the welfare of coastal communities.

3 views0 comments


bottom of page