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Updated: June 8, 2014 03:08 IST

All roads lead to ECR

Deepa H. Ramakrishnan
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Watching the sun set slowly by the seaside is such a nice thing to do, especially after a hectic week. And so it is that every weekend, many Chennaiites head towards the East Coast Road to do that and much more in resorts that dot the coastline.

Ananth Ramanathan, a city-based marketing consultant, said, “With the ECR, you can just take off. In an hour’s time you are there. The general idea is to relax with your friends, have a drink, listen to music, chill out by the pool. You are away from the city and your work. The whole thing is about the ambience and the company you go with,” he said.

High occupancy rates in beach resorts seem to be a driving factor for hoteliers and property developers as they establish resorts along the East Coast Road. While one resort that is coming up at Nemeli is awaiting clearance for consent to operate, at least three others are waiting for consent to set up from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).

Gaurav Sanghvi, Director, Olympia Merlin Developers, whose Reflection Project is awaiting clearance for its project in Kovalam, said that there was great potential for the growth of the hospitality sector on the ECR. “Though there was a slight lull after the tsunami, things are picking up again,” he said.

According to the State Coastal Zone Regulation Authority, in 2014, so far, no applications have been received. In 2013 and 2012, they received four applications each, which were cleared and forwarded to the MoEF for clearance. These have been proposed at villages including Devanery, Kanathur and Kokilamedu.

T. Nataraajan, secretary of the South India Hotel and Restaurant Association, said that for residents of Chennai, and land-locked places like Bangalore, ECR is the best option. “We have a long and beautiful coastline but haven’t used even 10 per cent. And it’s not just the beachside. A few properties are being developed on the other side of the road. The advantage with such properties is that they don’t require as many clearances and are coming up with adventure sports activities,” he said.

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