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In Focus

Coastal Zone Regulatory Chaos

Swift to follow within months of obtaining power was, the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority’s (MCZMA) draft coastal regulation zone (CRZ) map for Raigad district released in May 2018, wherein mangrove areas in Taloja, Kamothe and Gharapuri Island were marked as Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) II.

The mangroves around Elephanta Island are at direct risk with 'development' works

These are areas that have already been developed up to or close to the shoreline where authorised constructions are allowed – enabling developers to work in the area.

And, Elephanta’s Islanders were a exhilarated lot. “Har choti choti si baat ke liye ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) se permission lena padta tha humein. Ab hum hamare ghar ko apne aap hi theek kar sakenge. (We need to take permission for any small repair job to be undertaken from the ASI. Now we will be able to repair our own homes without the need to procure permissions,” says an Islander refusing to reveal his identity, happy to be able to perform some basic repairs and bandh kaam (minor construction works) of his home that lies next to the sea.

A lot of homes in Shetbunder lie along the High Tide Line of the sea with waters entering their homes almost as a rule every monsoons leaving the residents with no option but to keep their windows shut and quietly suffer damage till it stops raining, after which they embark on their annual repairs.

This report has been prepared for DraftCraft International’s Flagship Initiative, The Elephanta Island Project to research, analyse and determine the rights and liabilities of Islanders, local and foreign tourists vis-a-vis the responsibility of the State towards all stakeholders and natural resources while upholding the law of the land and ensuring the protection of environment that tops the list of priorities. The initiative examines laws and policies regarding islands, sea transport, privacy, women’s rights, health, protection of the environment and rights and liabilities of tourists guaranteed to all by the State in context of the Right To Equality, Freedoms, The Right to Life and Global Conventions to which India is a signatory.