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New CRZ rules to ensure safety for open spaces in Mumbai; activists fear for the coastal ecosystem

The Union Environment Ministry issued a new notification for areas under Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) and declared that it will offer protection to open spaces under the city’s new development plan

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On January 18, Friday, the Union Environment Ministry, issued a new notification for areas under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) which will offer protection to only the open spaces, parks, and playgrounds that are marked in Mumbai’s latest development plan. On the other hand, the activists have stated that they feel that the norms will be an opening of the pave for the destruction of the coastal ecosystem.

The notification defines CRZ-II as developed land areas up to or close to the shoreline, within the existing municipal limits or in other existing legally designated urban areas, which are substantially built-up with basic civic amenities. This means that the vacant plots in CRZ-II will be allowed for the development and construction of beach resorts and hotels or to promote tourism, subject to guidelines.

All open spaces, parks, gardens, playgrounds indicated in the development plan that fall in CRZ-II shall be categorised as no-development zones (NDZ) and a floor space index (FSI) up to 15% shall be allowed only for construction of civic amenities, stadium and gymnasium meant for recreational or sports-related activities. Residential or commercial use of such open spaces shall not be permissible,” read the rules.

While the ministry lauds the move, the activists are completely in opposition to the new rules. Stalin D, the director of NGO Vanashakti said that the DP has been planned out without any reference to the CRZ notification. He added that the new rules would allow the DP to supersede the CRZ rules, resulting in unrestricted construction along the entire coast.

Alongside, the notification further eases the previous CRZ norms, increasing FSI up to 3 from 1.33 for Mumbai City and 2.7 from 1 for suburbs.

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