Soon, night-time beachgoers at Marina can feel safer, as there will be fewer dim-lit spots.
This week, the Chennai Corporation will commission additional lights on the sands of the Marina, at a cost of Rs. 60 lakh. One high-mast lamp each will be installed at Ayothikuppam, the Kannagi statue, Nadukuppam service road, Nochikuppam and the Foreshore Estate area. Two high-mast lamps will be installed on the sands near the swimming pool.
The additional lighting is expected to prevent congregation of antisocial elements. The 3.1-km stretch of the Marina from the Triumph of Labour statue to the lighthouse has 24 high-mast lamps which were found to be inadequate. A number of beachgoers, put to hardship due to the inadequate illumination, had made representations, Corporation officials said.
Following requests from councillors, work on installing additional high-mast lamps had commenced recently.
The move to illuminate the sands is the latest in a series of initiatives to significantly improve the condition of the beach sands.
A writ petition pertaining to Marina beach a few months ago stated that the beach was in a pathetic and shabby condition. Also, foreign tourists were afraid of visiting the beach. Following a proposal to frame a scheme for hawkers and beach-users on the Marina that was mooted last year, the Corporation council also approved an estimate of Rs. 4.84 crore for the works that included installation of high mast lamps and police watch towers.
The makeover of Marina beach has been planned to prevent any adverse impact on the environment as well as on local hygiene and sanitation, said an official of the Corporation.
However, NGOS such as Students’ Sea Turtle Conservation Network have expressed concern over additional high mast lights on the sands.
“Marina is already full of mast lights. Every single hatchling will be attracted towards the light. During nesting of turtles the lights are normally switched off in many areas,” said Akila, a volunteer with Students’ Sea Turtle Conservation Network.
No progress in removing shops
The Corporation, to facilitate the restoration of the beach, also made a public announcement last year asking vendors on the sands to remove all illegal structures. But it has been unable to find a solution so far.
The civic body will submit its proposals for improving the condition of the beach to the Madras High Court this week.