GST Road in south Chennai is set to get a landmark thematic park adjacent to the Kilambakkam bus terminus shortly. The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), which is constructing the terminus, has proposed to develop the Kilambakkam Biodiversity and Archaeological Interpretation Park as part of mitigating the disruption caused to the nearby sensitive ecological zone.
The CMDA mooted the park to be set up on 16.90 acres of land as the bus terminus is coming up along a protected zone of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and a hydrologically important floodplain.
Anshul Mishra, Member Secretary, CMDA, said more than 46 acres of land in Kilambakkam had been notified as a protected site under The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010, by the ASI. As the bus terminus will come up close to the perimeter of the protected zone, the biodiversity park will be built in the green belt zone to showcase the excavations of the ASI. The mission of the park will be to provide recreation facilities, community activities and create an ecological corridor owning to its proximity with the Vandalur zoological park, he added.
The CMDA, while getting the environmental clearance from the State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) for construction of the bus terminus, mandated a list of measures to protect and improve the surrounding environment in the locality with efficient water and waste management, clean energy and native biodiversity enhancement. Also, as per the notification of the ASI, Kilambakkam contains megalithic cairns and cists with stone circle, where the dead were buried 2,300 years ago.
N. Srinivasa Rao, Superintendent Engineer of CMDA, said the biodiversity park was discussed at the stakeholders meeting conducted by Mr. Mishra with the representatives of ASI, who welcomed the suggestion immediately, and based on the meeting, a detailed project report (DPR) was finalised.
The DPR (a copy of which is available with The Hindu), citing that the location of the park is a prohibited zone mandated by the ASI where no construction activities will be allowed, permits for the establishment of green spaces and facilities for archaeological interpretation and education.
The CMDA, taking into consideration the environmental impact the sprawling terminus will cause, has allotted 68,500 square metres (sq.m) of space for the development of the park while accommodating the 34,000 sq.m designated under the ‘Open Space Reservation’. The report states that not only will a green zone be set up but a water harvesting system will be constructed to avoid rainwater runoff and help in water percolation.
Mr. Rao said the project report was prepared after studying the topography, surface drainage, climate and soil of the area. The CMDA has sent the proposal to ASI, Chennai, and once a No Objection Certificate from the National Monuments Authority in New Delhi is obtained, the tender to select the contractor for the park’s construction will be floated. The work will begin by next year.