The Indian government has drafted new rules that will remove the ban on exploiting the Indian coasts and beaches for commercial and entertainment use, potentially endangering even ecologically sensitive areas, The Indian Express reported.
According to the report, the Environment Ministry has drafted rules that will replace the current set of regulation that falls under the "Coastal Regulation Zone" norms that currently prohibit among other things the construction of permanent and concrete structures within half a kilometre from the sea coasts.
The draft rules would allow, among other things, the setting up of residences, commercial fish processing units and other infrastructure. Even ecologically sensitive areas such as wildlife reserves could be exploited for development activities if they are deemed in "national interest," according to the ministry, which has stated these areas have "tremendous tourism potential."
Some states have been demanding the easing of the current rules, alleging that the coast lines are already being encroached upon by commercial enterprises illegally and should be opened up for commercial use.
However, according to a Times of India report, there have been a number of instances in Visakhapatnam, for example, where government bodies have allegedly permitted the construction of several hotels, resorts and commercial projects along the Vizag-Bheemili Beach Road in violation of the rules.