In­dia’s coasts wait for a Hazard Line

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Nation - Malavika Vyawa­hare malavika.vyawa­hare@hin­dus­tan­

In­dia was sup­posed to get a Hazard Line two years ago. The line de­mar­cates the coastal area that is at high risk from flood­ing, coastal ero­sion and emerg­ing threats like sea level rise. It would help the 13 coastal states and Union Ter­ri­to­ries be bet­ter pre­pared for dis­as­ters like cy­clones and storm surges.

Over 170 mil­lion peo­ple live in coastal ar­eas of the coun­try.

In the 2011 Coastal Zone Reg­u­la­tion, the en­vi­ron­ment min­istry in­cor­po­rated a pro­vi­sion not just to de­mar­cate the high tide line and low tide lines but also a Hazard Line. The high tide line forms a base­line from where the ex­tent of the coastal zones to be pro­tected is mea­sured.

Un­der the cur­rent rules, 500m from the high tide line to­wards the land­ward side is the zone where the govern­ment can reg­u­late all sorts of ac­tiv­i­ties from construction to min­ing in the in­ter­est of pro­tect­ing the coastal en­vi­ron­ment. How­ever, un­der the 2011 no­ti­fi­ca­tion, if the Hazard Line lies beyond the high tide line, the for­mer be­comes the op­er­a­tional base­line.

As part of a World Bank­funded project launched in 2010, the min­istry was to map the Hazard Line with the help of the Sur­vey of In­dia. By 2015, the coun­try was to get a line which would tell pol­icy mak­ers and pub­lic how far in­land the risk of coastal haz­ards spread. The project was de­layed and a new dead­line of De­cem­ber 31, 2017, has been set.

The Hazard Line is an ad­vanced warn­ing sys­tem that helps to not only pre­vent deaths but also save crores in prop­erty loss. “It pro­vides sci­en­tific ba­sis for fu­tur­is­tic plan­ning to max­imise eco­nomic ben­e­fits and min­imise eco­log­i­cal im­pacts,” a World Bank spokesper­son said.


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