Realign ECR expansion along Odiyur lagoon: NGT
NHAI recently began work on widening the Mamallapuram-Puducherry stretch into a four-lane road. A portion of work along Odiyur lake has come under scrutiny.
CHENNAI: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to consider realigning the East Coast Road expansion along the 1.7 km stretch near Odiyur lagoon in Chengalpattu district.
NHAI recently began work on widening the Mamallapuram-Puducherry stretch into a four-lane road. A portion of work along Odiyur lake has come under scrutiny. The yellow marker stones (proposed right of way) were placed inside the waterbody. Vegetation and shrubs in a large area were removed and levelling work was carried out inside the lake area. Following this, environmentalists filed a petition before the NGT, which ordered an interim injunction. Now, the tribunal has suggested NHAI realign the expansion project. NHAI has sought two weeks.
Recently, a team from Palluyir Trust, a Chennai-based environmental organisation, carried out a bird survey at Odiyur and found over 17,000 migratory ducks including Northern Pintail, Eurasian Wigeon and Garganey. Large and small wading birds like Greater Flamingos, Eurasian Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis, Black-headed Ibis, Sand Plovers etc, were also found.
“In total, we counted about 20,000 waterbirds. We were very distressed to see that a four-lane highway expansion is happening inside the lagoon which is a declared important bird and biodiversity area (IBBA) under Criterion A4i and a crucial stopover site for migratory birds in Tamil Nadu. Every year between November and March, the wetland supports at least 1% biogeographic population of several waterbird species. Over 200 species of birds have been recorded here. Odiyur Lagoon makes a strong contender for a Ramsar site,” said M Yuvan from Palluyir Trust.
Odiyur lagoon is also one of the wetlands mapped under the National Wetland Inventory and Assessment and by a Supreme Court order, it should be protected under Wetland (Conservation and Management)