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Updated: February 29, 2012 15:10 IST

Union Ministry's clearance sought for coastal road

G. Krishnakumar
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The Hindu

5.5-km Moolamppilly-Chathanad road runs through an environmentally fragile area

The Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority (KSCZMA) has recommended that the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) provide clearance for the Goshree Island Development Authority's (GIDA) Rs. 97-crore Moolamppilly-Pizhala, Valiya Kadamakkudi-Chathanad Road.

The 5.5-km road, passing through an environmentally fragile area, will link the islands of Moolamppilly, Pizhala and Valiyakadamakkudi to Chathanad. It will have four bridges and 19 culverts. The road will reduce the distance between Ernakulam and North Paravur by 13 kilometres and improve the road connectivity of Kadamakkudi panchayat. Senior government officials told The Hindu that the decision to recommend the project for MoEF clearance was taken at the first meeting of the newly-constituted authority in January.

The road corridor cuts across different branches of the Periyar River, associated canals, filtration ponds, river banks, mangrove patches, paddy fields, habitation areas and agricultural land with coconut, banana and vegetables.

Experts pointed out that the MoEF clearance for the project remains crucial, as the road corridor is an environmentally fragile region at the interface zone of the Periyar River and Kochi backwaters. Scientists at the Centre for Earth Science Studies had earlier observed that the construction of road is likely to influence the quality of environment in and around the proposed site during the construction and operation phases. The nature and magnitude of these impacts on different aspects of environment such as land, water, air and ecology may vary according to various factors, they said.

CESS had also warned that the project will be detrimental and may be irreversible, if the variations are not within the assimilative capacity of the environment prevailing in the region. Scientists at the centre had recommended detailed environment impact assessment before implementing the road project.

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