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Defence projects exempted from coastal regulation norms

New Delhi, July 4 (IANS) The Union Environment Ministry on Tuesday relaxed the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules, clearing way for the defence projects and development of important infrastructure in the ecologically-critical areas.

However, apart from defence projects, the Ministry has also relaxed the norms in favour of Industries, making it easier for the industrial expansions in the sensitive coastal zones, at a time when industrial and real estate lobbies have been seeking exemptions in CRZ.

In a notification, the Ministry has amended the earlier “Coastal Regulation Zone Notification-2011” by inserting a clause specific to defence projects.

It has also deleted another rule that put restrictions on the setting up and expansion of industries, operations or processes in CRZ.

The amendment has inserted the special clause, “projects relating to defence organisations which are of strategic requirement and national importance and cannot be located elsewhere, subject to strict environmental safeguards”.

The CRZ-I pertains to the ecologically-sensitive areas up to 100 meter from the shorelines.

At the same time, it has completely omitted another clause which restricts setting up and expansion of industries with respect to the specific distance from the hazard line and high tide line (HTL).

The old CRZ rules allowed no construction or industrial expansion on the land falling between the hazard line and 500 meter from HTL on the landward side in case of seafront. It also restricted activities between the hazard line and 100 meter line in case of tidal-influenced water body.

Hazard line denotes the line demarcated by the Union Environment Ministry through the Survey of India taking into account tides, waves, sea level rise and shoreline changes.

The notification states that the changes were made following report of a special committee it has constituted following representations and concerns from the defence organisations, various state governments, union territories and stakeholders