NGT committee confirms CRZ violation in ECR drain project
Hence, the NGT and TNSCZMA may take appropriate view in this regard,” he said in the 14-page interim report, which was accessed exclusively by Express.
CHENNAI: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) appointed joint committee has submitted its interim report which confirmed that the Chennai Corporation has erred in not obtaining prior Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance for the controversial stormwater drain (SWD) project in Kovalam basin along the East Coast Road (ECR).
MT Karuppiah, nodal officer of the joint committee and scientist at the Chennai regional office of the Union Environment Ministry, said the SWD project required prior CRZ clearance from the TN State Coastal Zone Management Authority (TNSCZMA) under provisions of the CRZ notification. “The project authority (Chennai corporation) has not obtained the same prior to the commencement of the activities for construction of the SWD. Presently, there is no provision for the ex-post-facto clearance.
Hence, the NGT and TNSCZMA may take appropriate view in this regard,” he said in the 14-page interim report, which was accessed exclusively by Express. However, regarding the environmental impact on the aquifer and coastal zone, especially turtle-nesting sites, the panel said it proposes to undertake a detailed visit of the area under question. “Based on the site visit, a final report will be submitted to the NGT,” the report reads.
Official sources said the committee visited multiple places between Kottivakkam and Uthandi on Thursday. Views of Chennai Corporation officials, local residents and fisherfolk who are opposing the project were recorded. Interestingly, one of the committee members, P Ashok Kumar, who is the superintending engineer (South), Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB), has submitted a dissenting report.
In the nine-page report, which was also accessed by Express, Ashok Kumar argued that the SWD project does not require CRZ clearance as it is part of the infrastructure to be provided for the construction of roads. “Construction of SWD proposed by the Chennai Corporation does not fall in CRZ- IA. International consultant Kocks Consultant appointed by KfW (German Development Bank), the funding agency of this project, has also submitted in the detailed project report that no environmental clearance is required for the construction of SWD in Kovalam Basin,” he said.
Kumar said CMWSSB obtained CRZ clearance for Uthandi water supply scheme, since the funding agency Asian Development Bank (ADB) insisted on getting it from the Union Environment Ministry. Whereas for the case of Kottivakkam, Palavakkam and Injambakkam water supply scheme, the CMWSSB has not obtained CRZ clearance since the funding agency Chennai Mega City Development Mission (CMCDM) did not insist.
One of the committee members, in a dissenting report, said the SWD project does not require CRZ clearance as it is part of the infrastructure to be provided for the construction of roads