NEW DELHI: Relaxing the existing restrictions on development in coastal areas, the Shailesh Nayak Committee report has proposed for allowing housing infrastructure and slum redevelopment activities, tourism, ports and harbor and fisheries-related activities in coastal regulation zones.
The six-member committee was constituted in June, 2014 and it submitted the report to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MOEF&CC) in January 2015. The ministry has disclosed the report after an order from the Information Commissioner last month ordering the ministry that it cannot deny the report under the Right to Information (RTI), Act.
The report proposes the devolution of powers to state and union territory governments along with local authorities as sought by several states.
“Several States/UTs indicated that there is considerable ambiguity in the clearance of projects. The procedures are complicated and time taking. It was also indicated that the form for seeking clearance of projects in CRZ Notification, 2011 is complicated and very elaborate. Several States/UTs sought for delegation of powers for according clearance to projects in the coastal areas,” said the report.
The report further said that several states have brought to the notice that the existing regulations MoEF&CC to accord clearance for small projects such as laying of pipelines, transmission lines, conveyance systems and public buildings.
“The Committee is of the opinion that the MoEF&CC should restrict itself to policy making in the area of coastal management and monitoring of activities. Such clearances for small projects could be undertaken by the State/UT Governments or other agencies,” it said.
The coastal regulations were last amended in 2011 but several states were not happy, saying it was hampering development in coastal areas. It required development of coastal development plans but several states are yet to submit it.
The committee found that the 2011 regulations, especially with regard to construction, have affected the housing, slum redevelopment, redevelopment of dilapidated structures and other dangerous buildings.
“It is strongly felt that the concerned State Governments should be left to address the housing needs of the communities as per the State/UT Government norms. Providing decent housing to all communities is of prime importance and is a fundamental requirement of the people,” it said.
Dividing areas as densely populated rural areas and rural areas, the report imposes lesser regulation for the former through the reduction of the no development zone to 50 metres and 200 meters of the high tide line for others.
The Committee strongly supported that new opportunities and initiatives need to be taken to address the economic and social development of coastal communities.
“Most of the traditional coastal communities, who live on the resources from the coastal areas, especially fishing, need to be provided with adequate opportunity for economic development.
The local communities should be provided with an opportunity to take up tourism, artisanal fisheries such as traditional aquaculture and ornamental fish culture, in such ecosystem areas for their economic improvement,” it further said.
The committee further called for the Governments to work in areas which will address both conservation and economic development of the communities thereby, reducing pressure on the already depleting fisheries.