Kumari Palany & Co

New problems that have come up now regarding expansion of ECR in Chennai!!

Posted on: 11/Jul/2024 9:18:41 AM
With environmental activists and fishermen etc presenting new evidence to the NGT or National Green Tribunal alleging ecological violations, new challenges have emerged now for the expansion of ECR or East Coast Road in south Chennai.

Photographs have been submitted by petitioner Mr. Saravanan suggesting NHAI has illegally dumped soil and quarry rubble in the ecologically sensitive tidal zones of Odaiyur Lake present between Kalpakkam and Marakkanam on the stretch.

The area falls under CRZ or Coastal Regulatory Zone and this was according to the petitioner. As a result, the regulations prohibit any filling activities in the zone due to their unique habitat and biological significance particularly in the seagrass beds and inter-tidal mudflats. It was later brought out by the petitioner that NHAI actions contradict their own status report filed in the month of April. The status report pointed out that water would be blocked on one side of the lagoon but as per the recent evidence both sides of the lagoon were blocked restricting tidal exchange. This would damage the ecosystem as the lagoon would be deprived of essential sediments and nutrients etc carried by the tides.

As per NHAI, the cofferdam construction was planned in 2 stages (for the free flow of natural tide water) but the private firm undertook the work on the northern side without realising the impact. Point is that the private firm has been advised to stop the work partially. It must be recalled that on 3rd of July NGT directed NHAI to remove cofferdam on the northern side before completing the work on the southern side.

Point is the Mamallapuram- Puducherry section of ECR has faced many delays already due to the issues between the state and union governments. In 2022 only, the issues were resolved for the widening of the road into a 4 lane highway. It is now believed that the ongoing environmental issue has been complicating the project`s already difficult history. Now, the Kottivakkam residents want NHAI to resolve these issues as soon as possible as accidents are increasing on this section.

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