With environmental clearance remaining a major roadblock for the second phase of development of Marine Drive, the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) has decided to add a new twist to the tale.
It has zeroed in on Delhi-based public sector unit RITES to prepare the environmental impact assessment report on condition that RITES will first obtain a positive signal from the Central Government for the report it would prepare at a later stage.
GCDA chairman N Venugopal said that though the authorities have approached other agencies, RITES was the only agency which replied in the affirmative to prepare an environmental impact assessment report.
“But they demanded `4 crore for it. As there are about 48 such projects which await approval from the Central Government, we have to ensure that the project will be implemented before a huge chunk of money is released. Hence we informed RITES that the GCDA would release the fund only if it secured the Centre’s approval,” he said.
The GCDA chairman said that the RITES would make its stand clear within two months. If all goes as expected the RITES would prepare three seasonal reports - for summer, monsoon and during high tide. “But we have to be patient as it would take one year to prepare the report,” he said.
The GCDA had approached the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) and NERA to prepare the environmental impact assessment report. The NIO refused it flatly and NERA said that it didn't have adequate facilities to undertake it.
GCDA chairman said that though the state government had already given its nod to carry out the project, it could not initiate a single step because of environmental clearance hurdle.
The state government had already given its nod to carry out the project and submit a final report within three months.
In July GCDA chairman, Hibi Eden MLA and Marine Drive Project planner Kuldip Singh visited the proposed site and promised that they would demand the consultancy which will be given the responsibility to undertake environmental impact report to submit it within 10 days.