India is a country surrounded by water on its three sides, which makes it a peninsula, which provides coastal area of 7516.6 km. Coastal environment plays a vital role in a nation’s economy by virtue of their resources, productive habitats and rich biodiversity. This region also plays an important role in not only contributing towards GDP but also providing Livelihood to around 200 Million people.
With the rise in Population, development and accelerated growth, protection of the coastal zones have become very important. With the Intention to amplify the protection of coastal regions, the Union Government Enacted Coastal regulation zones Notification, 1991 (CRZ) under the Environmental Protection Act, 1986. Since its enactment, it has provided hopes to the people dependent on Coasts for their livelihood and Environmentalists who are concerned about the health of the coasts. But in essence, the regulatory authority established under the said notification has not been able to act with due diligence in matters pertaining to violation of CRZ.
According to several reports, more than 27000 violations of CRZ were reported in the state of kerela, and the numbers were able to be published in public domain only because the same was asked by the Supreme court in one of the case filed by filmmaker Major Ravi regarding CRZ violations. Recently, concretisation work was being carried out on Vainguinim beach, Goa in stark violation of CRZ rules, and even Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority failed to act to the several letters addressed to it stating such violations. Such Negligence have potential to convert these beautiful beaches into Human less desert.
It is not a new phenomenon that courts have come up to rescue when the relevant statutory authorities have not been able to perform their functions efficiently and their negligence was leading to disasters. According to CRZ, for any construction near the coast within 500 metre from the high tide line and the same distance from a low-tide line, a permission has to be sought from the Coastal zone management authority, and if the same is not sought, any erected building could be labelled as illegal and would be demolished. Such demolition orders are not new from any court.
Supreme Court in a landmark case ordered for demolition of Buildings in Maradu, Kerela and subsequently around 1800 structures were finalised by the state government as illegal and demolition of the same were proposed. Yet Again, the issue of vanguinim beach CRZ violation has revealed the sorry state of affairs for the protection of Coastal regions.
Within Past few months, India has been striked with two strong cyclones, “tauktae” and “Yaas” and we find some relation between the aggregating natural disasters in southern region with change in land patters along its coastal regions. Reports suggest that States like Tamil nadu and West Bengal have lost significant amount of Mangrove forests, which are known for having complex root systems efficient in dissipating sea wave energy and protecting coastal areas from tsunamis, storm surges and soil erosion. The Impact of such changes could in future be devastative for the Coastal states. Till date, the authorities have somehow managed to save several coasts from illegal construction but the loopholes has to be filled and actions have to be made swift, which will then fulfil the objectives of Environmental Protection act, 1986.
Thus, Strong implementation of CRZ is very important.