Coastal Regulation Zone Notifications (2018)

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has notified the amended Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms of 2019, replacing the existing CRZ norms of 2011.

What are Coastal Regulation Zones (CRZ)

Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, issued the Coastal Regulation Zone notification for the first time in February 1991 for regulation of human and industrial activities in the coastal area.

As per the notification, the coastal land up to 500m from the High Tide Line (HTL) and a stage of 100m along banks of creeks, estuaries, backwater and rivers subject to tidal fluctuations, is called the Coastal Regulation Zones (CRZ).  

Roughly the distance between specified inland area and the water area up to 12 nautical miles in the sea.

The Ministry of Environment also formed National Coastal Zone Management Authority (NCZMA) and State Coastal Zone Management Authority (SCZMA) under Section 5 of the Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986 to enforce and monitor the CRZ Notification.

Classification of CRZ 

The coastal areas have been classified into four categories—CRZ-I, CRZ-II, CRZ-III and CRZ-IV—in the 1991 notification.

  • CRZ-I - Ecologically sensitive areas such as coral reefs, mangroves, wildlife habitats etc that lie between high and low tide line, and are very much essential for maintaining the ecosystems. Natural gas exploration and salt extraction are permitted in this zone.
  • CRZ-II - Urban (developed) areas up to the shoreline of the coast. Unauthorized structures are not allowed here.
  • CRZ-III - Rural and urban areas which fall outside CRZ-I and CRZ-II are covered under CRZ-III. Only certain activities related to agriculture and some public facilities are permitted in this zone.
  • CRZ-IV - Aquatic areas up to territorial limits are notified under CRZ-IV. Fishing and allied activities are permitted in this zone. Solid waste should be let off in this zone.

As we can see the notification excludes Oceanic region and imposed restriction on the setting up and expansion of industries, sand mining, disposal/storage of hazardous material etc.

CRZ Guidelines Evolution

The guidelines in the 1991 notifications were too restrictive and several amendments were made. Despite the amendments the states were not satisified with the result. The area up to 200 meters from HTL was earmarked as “No Development Zone.“ 

No construction was permitted within this zone except for repairs to the existing authorized structures. It created hurdles in the POSCO steel plant construction in Odisha, for the projects under Dept. of Atomic Energy and for the proposed Navi Mumbai airport.

So the Central government revised the CRZ norms in 2011 which addressed several concerns of the states. As a result “No Development Zone (NDZ)" was reduced from 200 to 100 metres and exemptions were made for both the Navi Mumbai airport and the projects under Dept. of Atomic Energy.

The drawbacks of CRZ norms of 2011 was, as the No Development Zone  was reduced and there was no restrictions for expansion of housing for rural communities like the traditional fishing communities in CRZ III., people exploited this loophole and as a result there was a rise in construction on the coast and increased pressure on coastal resources. 

Another drawback was that the Special Economic Zone (“SEZ”) were not allowed in the CRZs.

Environment Ministry under the Central Govt. decided evaluate the situation and in June 2014, set up a six-member committee under Shailesh Nayak (then Secretary, Earth Sciences) to give suggestions for a new set of CRZ Rules. 

The committee along with  the inputs from Chennai-based National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management - High Tide Line (HTL) demarcation and Hazard line mapping - Survey of India submitted its recommendations in 2015

Based on this report, a draft notification was uploaded on the Ministry’s website on April 18, 2018 inviting comments from public for 60 days and including the overall good suggestions, the central government revised the CRZ norms in December 2018. 

Salient Features of CRZ 2018:

  1. No Development Zone (NDZ) reduced

    • For islands close to the mainland and for all Backwater Islands in the mainland, NDZ of 20 m has been stipulated because of the space limitations and unique geography of such regions etc.

  2. Floor Space Index (FSI) norms relaxed

    • Floor Space Index (FSI) or the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) - which governs the size of buildings  - of CRZ-II (Urban) areas in the CRZ Notification of 2011which had been frozen as per 1991 Development Control Regulation (DCR) is defreezed. 

    • This will enable redevelopment of these areas to meet the emerging needs.

  3. Streamlining of CRZ Clearances

    • The procedure for CRZ clearances has been streamlined. 

    • Now, the projects which are located in the CRZ-I (Ecologically Sensitive Areas) and CRZ IV (area covered between Low Tide Line and 12 Nautical Miles seaward) will be dealt with for CRZ clearance by the Environment Ministry. 

    • The powers for clearances with respect to CRZ-II and III have been dealt at the State level.

  4. Tourism infrastructure

    • CRZ 2018 permits temporary tourism facilities such as shacks, toilet blocks, drinking water facilities etc. in the beaches. 

    • It is also now permissible in the "No Development Zone" (NDZ) of the CRZ-III areas but minimum distance of 10 m from HTL should be maintained for setting up of such facilities.

  5. Two separate categories for CRZ-III (Rural) areas 

    • CRZ-III A: The A category of CRZ-III areas are densely populated rural areas with a population density of 2161 per square kilometre as per 2011 Census. Such areas have a No Development Zone (NDZ) of 50 meters from the  as against 200 meters from the HTL stipulated in the CRZ Notification, 2011. 

    •  CRZ-III B: The B category of CRZ-III rural areas have population density of below 2161 per square kilometre as per 2011 Census. Such areas have a NDZ of 200 meters from the HTL.

  6. Pollution Abatement

    • To address pollution in Coastal areas, the treatment facilities have been made permissible in CRZ-I B area subject to necessary safeguards.

  7. Ecologically Sensitive Areas Conservation

    • Specific guidelines related to the conservation and management plans of Critically Vulnerable Coastal Areas (CVCA) have been drawn up as a part of the CRZ Notification.

  8. Defence and strategic projects have been accorded necessary dispensation.


  • India's Coastline - 7516.6 km (from Gujarat to West Bengal, and two island archipelagos - Andaman Island & Lakshadweep).
  • Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change - Prakash Javadekar
  • Critically Vulnerable Coastal Areas (CVCA) in India -
    • Mangrove forest at Sundarban (West Bengal)
    • Gulf of Khambat & Gulf of Kutch (Gujarat)
    • Malvan & Achra-Ratnagiri (Maharashtra)
    • Karwar & Coondapur (Karnataka)
    • Vembanad (Kerala)
    • Gulf of Mannar (Tamil Nadu)
    • Coringa, East Godavari & Krishna (Andhra Pradesh)
    • Bhitarkanika National Park (Odisha  - January 19, 2020)
  • Largest Mangrove Forest in India - Mangrove forest at Sundarban (West Bengal)