‘CRZ clearance needed for stormwater drain project along ECR’

Expert Committee appointed by NGT’s Southern Bench submits interim report

The Expert Committee appointed by the Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which visited East Coast Road recently to inspect the Greater Chennai Corporation’s stormwater drain project, has confirmed in its interim report the requirement of environment clearance under the Coastal Regulation Zone notification.

The report, a copy of which has been accessed, said the project authority had not obtained the clearance prior to the commencement of the construction activities.

It said there was no provision for obtaining ex-post-facto clearance and recommended that the NGT and the Tamil Nadu State Coastal Zone Management Authority take appropriate action in this regard.

The Superintending Engineer (south) of Metrowater, however, shared a dissenting view, which the committee recorded.

Dissenting opinion

He was of the opinion that CRZ clearance was not required since it was part of the infrastructure to be provided in the construction of roads since the project did not fall under CRZ 1A. M/s. Kocks Consultant, the firm appointed by the German Development Bank KfW, the funding agency of the project, had submitted in its detailed project report that no environmental clearance was required.

The committee had been constituted by the NGT to study the impact the construction of the stormwater drain network would have on the coastal aquifer system along the ECR from Kottivakkam to Uthandi.

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