29 July, 2021

Towards Ruin: The Coast Is Finally Clear

Regularisation rather than regulation has become the norm in our coastal policy. What a foolish government!

Towards Ruin: The Coast Is Finally Clear

Indira Gandhi’s concerns about protecting the ecology of India’s coasts, which held sway for almost 20 years, are being subverted under a regime supervised by her daughter-in-law and grandson. Claude Alvares—who has been involved with coastal ecology issues for decades—provides a stinging critique of the way the present dispensation is actively undoing one of India’s most significant environment regulations.

Who remembers? In November 1981, Indira Gandhi issued a stern letter to all the chief ministers of India’s coastal states stipulating that nothing should be allowed within 500 metres of the high tide line (HTL) in order to maintain the beauty and ecological integrity of the nation’s beaches.

As long as she was alive, no one dared to challenge the directive. It was finally replaced in February 1991 by a special notification under the Environment Protection Act which defined the stretch of 500 metres from the HTL as “coastal regulation zone” and...

More from Claude Alvares

Latest Magazine

August 02, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section