Special Correspondent

TAMBARAM: At a meeting of councillors of St. Thomas Mount Panchayat Union recently, elected representatives sought a debate on the necessity for parting with land coming within Perumbakkam village panchayat for constructing an access road leading to an Information Technology Park.

The meeting, held once in two months, sought the consent of the Panchayat Union councillors for parting with a portion of land so that the proposal could be forwarded to the Kancheepuram district administration. K.Elumalai, Panchayat Union president belonging to Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, said that in February this year, Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation had written to them urging the consent of the Union Council for parting with land for creating the access road.

The road would lead to the IT Park, proposed to be built by a Secunderabad-based company at a cost of Rs.1,500 crore on 66 acres of land in Nookampalayam village that came within Perumbakkam panchayat limits. As the existing routes to Nookampalayam were too long, TIDCO had proposed an access road for a distance of about 3 kilometres from the road connecting Medavakkam and Sholinganallur.

This would benefit residents and also enable easy access to the proposed IT Park, Mr. Elumalai said, but councillors differed.

Scrutinise impact to environment

E.Rajasekar, All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Councillor from Perumbakkam, said if the proposed access road had to be built, land acquisition would affect several hundred families living in Pasumpon Nagar and Bharathi Nagar among other localities of the panchayat. They were not against the IT Park, he clarified, but the access road would bring more problems than benefits.

Mr. Elumalai explained that for the proposed access road, only government land had to be acquired and allayed fears people would be displaced. “TIDCO has only asked the approval of the Panchayat Union. Let us sanction it and forward it to the Kancheerpuram district administration and let them take a final decision,” Mr. Elumalai said.

However, Mr. Rajasekar insisted that a thorough inspection of the land and their survey numbers should be made and only then should the Union give its consent. The Chairman relented and agreed to take up the subject for discussion at a later meeting of the council.

Mr. Rajasekar said that several massive buildings were constructed along Rajiv Gandhi Salai. While they did give a boost to the economy, they also had a strain on the environment around them.

In the past, rain water from Nookkampalayam, Medavakkam, Perumbakkam and nearby places would drain into Buckingham Canal without a hindrance.

However, this natural course was disturbed in the past couple of monsoons. Due to this, water stagnated in many localities causing problems to residents and feared the proposed access road to the IT park in Nookkampalayam would add to woes.

The State Government should conduct an elaborate Environment Impact Assessment and also seek an opinion from residents and elected representatives at the grass root level of village panchayats before sanctioning land for mega projects, Mr. Rajasekar added.