CHENNAI: People travelling to Puducherry on East Coast Road (ECR) may soon enjoy a pleasant drive with the southern bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) giving its approval for the four-lane project.
Disposing of a petition filed by S Venkatesh of T Nagar, the bench, comprising MS Nambiar and expert member PS Rao, pronounced a 40-page order on Monday, wherein it said the project doesn’t attract Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) or Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notifications.
Interestingly, another bench in the NGT headed by P Jyothimani had earlier issued an interim stay on the project saying prior environment clearance was not obtained.
By virtue of this order, Tamil Nadu Road Development Corporation could carry out road works from Kudimiyandithopu near Chennai to Koonimedu on the outskirts of Puducherry.
Abdul Saleem, counsel for TNRDC, told Express that the tribunal had upheld that project was being carried out within the existing right of way. “There was no fresh land acquisition or widening of the road width. Already, there is a 45-metre road and the corporation was only trying to convert it into four-lane. Work up to Mamallapuram has been completed and the work on remaining stretch will be taken up now,” he said.
Earlier, the NGT had stopped the entire project work and later permitted TNRDC to work till Mamallapuram. The NGT Bench has now dismissed the application holding that environment clearance or the CRZ clearance was not required and directed the project proponent to follow certain conditions, including planting broadleaved indigenous trees suitable to the locality within two months and filing the status report regarding 51 trees already planted.
Planting shrubs in the centre median, placing noise barriers at the appropriate location especially near the inhabited area and ensuring no light pass towards the seaside.
TNRDC officials welcomed the order and said it was important considering the phenomenal rise in the traffic on the stretch between Akkarai to Puducherry over the past few years, which also saw a spike in a number of accidents (mainly head on collisions) in the absence of centre median. “Now, we will take-up improvements to critical curves and junctions between Mamallapuram and Puducherry,” an official said and added that the total cost of the project was `272.10 crore.