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Karnataka mulls relaxing coastal tourism restrictions
Rohit Kaul, reporting from FHRAI Annual Convention, Jaipur, September 15, 2014

THE government of India's southern state, Karnataka, is looking to loosen Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) regulations to promote the construction of beach resorts at the state's 41 beaches and 11 islands.

At the recent Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI) Annual Convention, Indian hoteliers have urged the government to revisit the CRZ guidelines, which currently permit the construction of a beach resort within 200m of the High Tide Line.

Sharing the development on the sidelines of the convention, Karnataka tourism minister, R V Deshpande, said: "We have already requested the central government to bring the restriction down to between 50m and 100m."

The government has identified beaches and islands in Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts for the purpose.

It also sent a six-member committee to the state last month to study the development of tourism in coastal areas.

FHRAI president, S M Shervani, said: "There is 7,000km of coastline in India and hotels will take up a small percentage of it. Hence, the argument that hotels will destroy the coastline of India doesn't hold.

“If India has to compete internationally with markets like the Maldives, which has resorts so close to the beach, we have to change the existing CRZ guidelines."

Karnataka is expected to unveil a new tourism policy next month with an emphasis on coastal tourism development.

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