Frequently Asked Questions on CRZ Notification, law in India to protect the costal areas of the country 

1. What is CRZ? Is it an Act or Rule or Regulation? What is the effect?

It is a notification issued under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and has got all the effects of the law. Therefore, the CRZ Notification is a law and everyone is bound by it. The first notification was issued on 1991 which was replaced by 2011 notification and again replaced by another notification on 2019.

2. Whether the CRZ notification applies to all rivers in the country?

No. CRZ applies only to those water bodies which are affected by tidal action. Mere pushing of freshwater by tidal effect is not sufficient. The salinity in the said water body must be above 10 ppt (parts per thousand). All the states have prepared Coastal Zone Management Plans identifying and classifying the areas into different categories.  

3. How is it possible to ascertain whether one's property is affected by CRZ regulations?

The State has prepared a Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) identifying and classifying the coastal areas of the state. The said Plan prepared in December 1995 identifies the CRZ areas in the state. On the basis of the new CRZ Notification, 2011 new Coastal Zone Management Plans are approved. The CRZ status of the property can be ascertained from the said new CZMP’s. It is available in the web site of the concerned States Coastal Zone Management Authority.

4. What should be done to change the categories in the approved CZMP?

If the CZMP does not show the real status of the property application has to be made to the State Coastal Zone Management Authority. Supporting reasons has to be shown to revise it.  In case the State CZMA do not do can approach the National Coastal Zone Management Authority.

5. To what distance the CRZ applies? Whether any relaxations are given in 2019 notification?

From the sea, a distance of 500 meters from High Tide Level is CRZ areas. For rivers, creeks and backwaters the distance of prohibition is 100 meters or the width of the river whichever is less. For backwater islands, it has been reduced to 50 metres in the new CRZ Notification, 2011. Some more relaxations have been given in the CRZ, 2019 notification. For getting the benefit of the same the new CZMP has to be prepared and get it approved. Till such time the CZMP prepared as per 2011 notification will prevail.

6. What steps should be taken to make constructions in coastal regulation zones?

In CRZ-III areas construction is possible on the land between 200 meters and 500 metres, subject to certain conditions. For that one has to make applications to the concerned Coastal Zone Management Authority who will consider the application and grant necessary sanction if it is in accordance with the law. The application has to be forwarded through the concerned Panchayat/Municipal office.

7. Does the Coastal Zone Management Authority have the power to grant an exemption to any activity?

NO. Granting of exemption from the purview of CRZ laws is not permitted. The Government of India amended the notification in 1994 empowering them to grant exemption from CRZ on case to case basis. But it struck down by the Supreme Court of India for the reason that such granting of power to them is arbitrary and struck down the provision as unconstitutional. Therefore, it is not possible to grant an exemption to any person from the applicability of the law.

8. To what construction the CRZ applies?

CRZ applies to all constructions made after 19th February 1991. For making constructions all the coastal areas are classified into different categories. The eco-sensitive areas are classified as CRZ-I, where no construction is possible.  The developed coastal areas are classified as CRZ-II wherein constructions are possible on the landward side of existing structures. The remaining areas come under CRZ-III wherein no construction is possible on CRZ areas. But the existing buildings can be re-constructed without changing the architectural character and subject to conditions.

9. How can one get it changed the CRZ status of the property?

One can make an application for the revision of the CRZ status to the concerned State Coastal Zone Management Authority. Now a new CZMP is under preparation as per 2019 notification. Thereafter it will be displayed for public comments. At that time also one can object to the change in the CRZ status of the property.

10. Whether the Coastal Zone Management Plan is prepared by the Government of Kerala as per the CRZ Notification, 2019.

The draft CZMP is prepared and objections from the public is called for. Thereafter it will be altered whenever necessary and will be sent to Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change who will have to approve it. Then only the benefits of CRZ, 2019 will get.

11. What are the changes made in the CRZ Notification, 2019.

Changes in FSI - Allowing FSI as per current norms in CRZ areas: As per CRZ, 2011 Notification, for CRZ-II (Urban) areas, Floor Space Index (FSI) or the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) had been frozen as per 1991 Development Control Regulation (DCR) levels. In the CRZ, 2018 Notification, it has been decided to de-freeze the same and permit FSI for construction projects, as prevailing on the date of the new Notification. This will enable redevelopment of these areas to meet the emerging needs.

Under developed areas are classified into two : Densely populated rural areas to be afforded greater opportunity for development: For CRZ-III (Rural) areas, two separate categories have now been stipulated as below:

(a)  CRZ-III A - These are densely populated rural areas with a population density of 2161 per square kilometre as per 2011 Census. Such areas shall have a No Development Zone (NDZ) of 50 meters from the HTL as against 200 meters from the High Tide Line stipulated in the CRZ Notification, 2011 since such areas have similar characteristics as urban areas.

(b)  CRZ-III B - Rural areas with population density of below 2161 per square kilometre as per 2011 Census. Such areas shall continue to have an NDZ of 200 meters from the HTL.

Relaxation for Tourism. Tourism infrastructure for basic amenities to be promoted: Temporary tourism facilities such as shacks, toilet blocks, change rooms, drinking water facilities etc. have now been permitted in Beaches. Such temporary tourism facilities are also now permissible in the "No Development Zone" (NDZ) of the CRZ-III areas as per the Notification. However, a minimum distance of 10 m from HTL should be maintained for setting up of such facilities.

CRZ Clearances streamlined: The procedure for CRZ clearances has been streamlined. Only such projects/activities, which are located in the CRZ-I (Ecologically Sensitive Areas) and CRZ IV (area covered between Low Tide Line and 12 Nautical Miles seaward) shall be dealt with for CRZ clearance by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The powers for clearances with respect to CRZ-II and III have been delegated at the State level with necessary guidance.


Islands- A No Development Zone (NDZ) of 20 meters has been stipulated for all Islands: For islands close to the main land coast and for all Backwater Islands in the main land, in wake of space limitations and unique geography of such regions, bringing uniformity in treatment of such regions, NDZ of 20 m has been stipulated.

Ecologically sensitive areas. All Ecologically Sensitive Areas have been accorded special importance: Specific guidelines related to their conservation and management plans have been drawn up as a part of the CRZ Notification.

Pollution abatement has been accorded special focus: In order to address pollution in Coastal areas treatment facilities have been made permissible activities in CRZ-I B area subject to necessary safeguards.

Defence and strategic projects have been accorded necessary dispensation.

(For private Mangrove areas no buffer zone of 50 metres is required.

The new notification will make it possible to use the coast in a sustainable manner.

11. Will the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2019 regularize the buildings constructed in violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 1991 and 2011?

No.  But the Central Government is empowered to issue appropriate direction under Sec.5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, to regularise the same taking into consideration the precautionary principles and polluter pays principle. The CZMP’s of many states are not prepared property in many states. Several defects in it has not been rectified. Even the other local authorities could not identify the CRZ areas. The same has caused to make huge constructions in violation of the CRZ.



Page prepared by Adv.P.B.SAHASRANAMAN