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Marina Loop Road feasible, says Corporation, experts disagree

Entire city shoreline is classified under CRZ-II due to urbanisation, says pre-feasibility report

Published: 19th March 2020 06:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th March 2020 01:10 PM   |  A+A-

Marina beach, Chennai

Deserted view of Marina beach in Chennai. (Photo | R Satish Babu, EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) has conducted the pre-feasibility study to extend Marina Loop Road to Besant Nagar as directed by the Madras High Court. It has termed the project ‘feasible’. The 18-page pre-feasibility report (PFR), a copy of which is available with Express, was submitted before a division bench along with a status report undersigned by GCC Commissioner G Prakash on Wednesday. 

Experts have raised a few questions regarding the proposal. The GCC claimed that the project area comprising of the Santhome Bypass (Elevated Expressway) falls under the category of CRZ-II as per the Department of Environment, Tamil Nadu. “This is because the entire Chennai shoreline is classified under CRZ-II due to the urbanisation of the growing population,” the PFR reads.  

However, Jayanti Murali, Director, Department of Environment, had earlier told the High Court bench that the project area falls under CRZ-1A, an ecologically sensitive area and a turtle nesting site. She said CRZ clearance cannot be granted by Tamil Nadu State Coastal Zone Management Authority (TNSCZMA). 
“The project has to be appraised by Union Environment Ministry.

We can only give appropriate recommendations,” said Jayanti Murali, who is also member secretary of TNSCZMA. Meanwhile, the corporation has called the traditional fishing hamlets Srinivasapuram and Ururkuppam as ‘encroachments’. Going by the PFR, the project would displace 1,200 fishermen families. The authorities proposed to conduct a separate study on rehabilitation and resettlement during preparing final feasibility report. 

FOB not possible: GCC
As regards construction of a foot over bridge (FOB) across the existing Marina Loop Road, the corporation said it is not possible and it would not be purposeful. Further hearing on the PIL petition from Fishermen Care stands adjourned to Thursday



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