CHENNAI: An international standard golf course proposed along the East Coast Road (ECR) in Cheyyur of Kancheepuram taluk, has run into trouble with the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) classifying the project site as ‘ecological sensitive and having inter-tidal water bodies’.
The golf course is promoted by M/s Sporting Pastime India Limited. NCSCM, which prepared the Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) for Tamil Nadu recently has categorised the golf course under CRZ-1A and CRZ-1B, areas considered ecologically sensitive having geomorphological features like sand dunes that play an important role maintaining the integrity of the coast and inter-tidal zone as per Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification.
The firm had got environment clearance for the project from the Union government in October 2002. The project proposal was first submitted in the year 1999 and the site was categorised as CRZ-1 (environmentally most critical).
However, based on the recommendation of the Tamil Nadu State Coastal Zone Management Authority (TNSCZMA), the Union government has re-classified the proposed project site as CRZ-III (Land areas that are relatively undisturbed like rural areas etc), in the year 2000.
Now, the NCSCM’s work has put the project under jeopardy as no such activities can be carried out in CRZ-1A and CRZ-1B areas. However, M/s Sporting Pastime India Limited has made a representation to TNSCZMA saying, “Some of the physical features like sand dunes and water bodies on the project site, have been artificially developed by them as essential to an international golf course and are not natural features.”
The firm has requested the Authority to retain the land area as CRZ-III. The matter was taken up during the 103rd meeting of TNSCZMA. As per the minutes of the meeting, “The authority resolved to refer the matter to the NCSCM to submit the factual report, based on the latest satellite imagery and ground-truthing for further action.”
Officials said the draft CZMP was uploaded on February 19, 2018, in the Department of Environment website and hard copies have been made available at the Government offices/local bodies for public views/objections/suggestions. Accordingly, several applications that have been received up to September 2018, have been considered. “However, no representation has been received from the applicant.”