Project for road corridor along coastal areas cleared

Giving out a clear signal that reclamation and construction will not be permitted in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) area, the Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority (KSCZMA) rejected the Greater Cochin Development Authority's (GCDA) proposal to reclaim 50 acres for initiating commercial activities along the first phase of the proposed 65-km ring road project connecting Marine Drive and Kumbalam.

But there is good news for GCDA, as the authority has cleared the first phase of the traffic flow corridor starting from Marine Drive through the coastal areas and linking major settlements like Kothad, Chennur, Varapuzha, Alangad, Aluva, Chengamanad, Keezhmad, Edathala, Puthencruz, Chottanikara, Mulamthuruthy and Udayamperur and crossing NH 17, the New NH AI Container Highway, the NH 47, Sea Port Airport Road and finally meeting the NH 47 at Kumbalam.. Senior government officials associated with the development told The Hindu on Tuesday that the proposed first phase of the ring road project passes through CRZ-I, CRZ-II, CRZ-III and CRZ-IV areas. GCDA had proposed setting up offices, parks and other development projects in the land to be reclaimed as part of the ring road project.

Reclamation for commercial purposes like shopping and housing complexes, hotels and entertainment activities was not permissible as per the CRZ notification, 1991. The proposal also attracted the provisions of the CRZ 2011 notification which allows no construction in the area covered by water bodies. Land reclamation, bunding or disturbing the natural course of sea water by undertaking such developments remains a prohibited activity in such regions, they said.

The GCDA's plan to make the project viable by developing the land and generate income out of it has received a setback with the decision taken by the KSCZMA. It is reliably learnt that the authority had made a presentation before the KSCZMA a few days back based on the study done by KITCO on the ring road project. It was conceived in 2006 and was remaining in the cold storage following several technical issues.

Only the first phase, stretched to about 10 km, passes along the backwater and demands large scale reclamation. The Authority also had projects to build land banks in suburbs and develop it on commercial purpose, which did not take off.

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