The Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project is the first effort to study the 7,500-km coastline and impact of shoreline change and sea level rise in the country. The Project will cover six crore people who live in coastal areas. Rs 1156 crore World-Bank assisted Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Project will be implemented over the next five years by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The World Bank’s contribution as soft loan/IDA credit is around Rs 897 crore (78%). This ICZM project assumes special significance in the context of climate change since one of the definitive findings of the IPCC relates to the increase in mean sea levels as a result of global warming. It will focus on four factors- shoreline changes, tides, waves and sea level rise.
The total number of direct beneficiaries of the project is close to 15 lakhs, while the number of indirect but identifiable beneficiaries will be close to 6 crore. Initially, three states have been selected on various grounds – pressure on coast, presence of critical ecosystems, risks of natural hazards, etc. The Asian Development Bank is supporting a less comprehensive shoreline management project in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa. It is envisaged that the second phase of the ICZM would take up the other coastal states with project preparation in all remaining coastal states commencing immediately.
The Integrated Coastal Zone Management project has four main components which includes National ICZM capacity building, activities along the Gulf of Kuchcha and Jamnagar as well as Sunderbans, Haldia and Digha- Shankarpur and wetland conservation in Orissa.
National ICZM Capacity-building
This component will be carried out at a total investment of about Rs 356 crore. Four major activities will be done under it.
Mapping, delineation and demarcation of the hazard lines and delineation of the coastal sediment cells along the mainland coast of India:
Two decades after setting up norms to protect the country’s 7,500 km coastline, the Government has finally approved drawing India’s first ‘’hazard line’’ for the entire coast. A hazard line broadly is the maximum distance a wave – both regular and tidal – can travel. The line would be drawn keeping factors like shoreline change, the distance traveled by tides and regular waves as well as sea level rise in mind. Once the line is drawn, in extreme cases people who are found living on the wrong side of the hazard line will be sensitised to the problem and the risk involved. Some vulnerable sections living close to the hazard line may be relocated after the completion of the project. The Centre in the past had proposed commercial and development activities close to the shore without even first drawing the hazard line, being demanded by green activists for a long time.
The Survey of India will undertake the elaborate and extensive exercise using aerial surveys and satellite imageries. The two-year project will cost Rs 125 crore. Experts are also planning to make extensive use of aerial photography and satellite data to demarcate hazard lines and map environmentally sensitive areas that require protection.
The hazard mapping would help in protecting coastal communities and infrastructure. The first phase of the hazard line project will begin in Gujarat, Orissa and West Bengal. The states had been chosen on the basis of their vulnerability and ongoing development work on coasts.
Mapping, delineation and demarcation of environmentally-sensitive areas that require protection :
As part of the project, the Government will also map and demarcate environmentally-sensitive areas. To avoid a repeat of West Bengal’s New Moore Island, which disappeared without a trace due to rising sea level, the Environment Ministry will demark environmentally sensitive areas also. Sunderbans in West Bengal is a highly ecologically sensitive area and likely to be affected immensely by climate change. These will be classified as “Critically Vulnerable Coastal Areas.” In regard to the Sunderbans – home to 50 lakh people, over 70 tigers and 50 species of mangroves – India and Bangladesh will form a joint action plan to preserve the eco-system spread out between their borders.
Of special focus in the project will be the identification and demarcation of coastal fragile areas like mangroves, brackish water, wetlands, coral reefs, etc., based on which a new category of Critically Vulnerable Coastal Areas (CVCAs) would be designated and appropriate management plans implemented for their preservation and regeneration. These would include areas around Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Gulf of Khambat and Gulf of Kutchchh in Gujarat, Malvan, Vasasi-Manori, Achra-Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, Karwar and Coondapur in Karnataka, Vembanad in Kerala, Bhaitarkanika and Chilika in Orissa, Coringa, East Godavari and Krishna in Andhra Pradesh, Sunderban in West Bengal, Pichawaram and Gulf of Mannar in Tamil Nadu etc.
Establishment of a National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management at Anna University, Chennai:
Anna University will soon host a National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Zone Management. It will conduct research on various aspects of coastal management, work with coastal communities and advise the Ministry on policy matters. To reflect a change in approach from academic research to societal impacts, this will be called a Center and not an Institute. The focus of this Centre is not science, the focus is people, that too the fishing community. It will be the main Center for extension work for coastal zone management and will focus on economic activities in the coastal zone.
The first phase of the Center will invest not in building but put a critical team of people together. Initial funding of Rs. 10 crore is to hire 50 scientists, in a variety of disciplines with a mix of professionals from both the engineering and social sciences. The average age will be kept below 35, half the team will consists of women and at least 60 per cent members will be selected from outside Tamil Nadu.
Earlier the University proposed to build the Center with world-class facilities to come up on a 10-acre site. Now Rs.166 crore has been earmarked for the Center.
Eminent Scientist M.S. Swaminathan, who had recommended setting up the institute in a July 2009 report, will act as an advisor to the Centre. The Centre will be funded from the World Bank-funded Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project which has an overall budget of Rs. 800 crore for the next five years.
Training programme for coastal zone management :
The ICZM programme would also initiate a nation-wide training programme for coastal zone management.
ICZM activities in Gujarat
Integrated Coastal Zone Management activities along the Gulf of Kachchh and in Jamnagar District in Gujarat will involve a total investment of around Rs 298 crore.
Wetland conservation in Orissa
Integrated Coastal Zone Management and wetland conservation activities in two stretches of the Orissa coast will include Gopalpur-Chilika and Paradip-Dhamra at a total investment of Rs 201 crore.
ICZM activities in West Bengal
Integrated Coastal Zone Management activities in Sunderban, Haldia and Digha-Shankarpur regions of West Bengal will involve a total investment of Rs 300 crore.
The project would develop capacity and institutions to effectively implement the CRZ Notification 1991, to control pollution of coastal waters and to expand livelihood options for coastal communities. (PIB Features)