Despite protests by fishermen and residents, the proposed elevated expressway between the lighthouse and Kottivakam, ECR, is making progress. The steering committee of the State Highways Department has approved the final Detailed Feasibility Report and steps for preparing the Detailed Project Report (DPR) that would facilitate tendering have begun.

Compensation and rehabilitation and necessary Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) approvals will be addressed in the DPR, say officials.

Earlier, the Urur Kuppam Panchayat Mahasabha, on behalf of 10 fishing villages along the coast, had petitioned the Chief Minister to drop the project since it would displace fishermen, affect their livelihood and disturb the ecology. The project would mostly benefit car owners and did not have room for buses or pedestrians. Highway officials said that since the expressway was coming up at a height of about 6 metres, it would not affect movement below nor the aesthetics of the beach.

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A. SrivathsanJune 28, 2012