Re: Theos-World Adyar is in danger
Jul 31, 2009 10:09 AM
by Govert Schuller
The Times of India
Plea to junk elevated expressway project
TNN 4 April 2009, 03:47am IST
CHENNAI: Beach-goers, fisherfolk, environmentalists and residents of Foreshore Estate, Olcott Kuppam and Orur Kuppam in Besant Nagar on Friday demanded that the state government abandon its proposed 7.5-km six-lane elevated expressway along the beach from Marina to East Coast Road.
Under a newly formed forum, Save Chennai Beaches, an awareness and protest rally was held on Eliots beach. Members of the forum alleged that the project would disrupt fishing activity, displace coastal residents, disturb nesting turtles and damage ecologically sensitive areas such as the Theosophical Society and Adyar estuary, besides changing the face of residential areas.
Arun from Students Sea Turtle Conservation Network (SSTCN), a voluntary group, said that the construction of the expressway would disrupt the nesting spots of the Olive Ridley turtles, an endangered species listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife Act. SSTCN has been working since 1980 along the coastline, spreading awareness about the species and the need to conserve it. "We have so far saved more than 8,000 turtle hatchlings and released them safely into the sea. The proposed expressway will make it hell here," he said.
After consultant Willbur Smith Associates Pvt Ltd, appointed by the highways department, conducted a detailed feasibility study last year, the government planned to start work on the corridor construction, from the Lighthouse to Foreshore Estate, crossing Adyar estuary and beyond, up to Ururkuppam. The alignment joins Besant Nagar Fifth Avenue Road near Eliots Beach, before the second phase in Kottivakkam takes over.
According to Madras high court senior advocate Sriram Panchu, both phases violated environmental rules and the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) notification, 1991. He added: "The proposal is a subversion of the masterplan, as it finds no mention in the document. Given the magnitude of the legal issues, I only hope and trust the government should realise the legal implications and withdraw the project."
Theosophical Society general manager S Harihara Raghavan said the expressway would badly affect the fragile ecology in the Society grounds. "There were more than 160 migratory and native birds in the society, but it has come down to 80 now. The population of birds will be further affected in case the elevated expressway takes shape. The government should also think about the broken bridge near Srinivasapuram, which was washed away 30 years ago due to soil condition."
M G Devasahayam, managing trustee, SUSTAIN, an NGO, said that various plans proposed by government agencies to reduce traffic congestion - upgradation of roads near Foreshore Estate, linking Greenways Road to Durgabai Deshmukh Road, reclamation of the four-lane carriageway on L B Road by removing encroachments and construction of a grade separator-cum-subway at the Tiruvanmiyur junction - should be implemented soon.
Members of Save Chennai Beaches plan to make a representation to the state government soon.
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