NGT forms joint panel to evaluate ECR integrated stormwater drain project

The National Green Tribunal has appointed a joint committee with representatives from various government agencies to evaluate the Integrated Storm Water Drain (ISWD) project of Kovalam basin and submit a report.

The bench of Justice K. Ramakrishnan and expert member Saibal Dasgupta has ordered that the committee must submit a report on whether the project needed Coastal Regulation Zone clearance and environmental impact of the ISWD on aquifer and coastal zone along the East Coast Road.

The joint committee will have officials from the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Chennai Metrowater, Tamil Nadu Coastal Zone Management Authority, Water Resources Organisation, Public Works Department and National Institute of Ocean Technology.

The committee also needs to recommend methods to carry out the project without causing environmental impact on the aquifer and coastal areas. It must submit the report by December 4. This follows a case filed with the NGT seeking its intervention in preventing the construction of stormwater drains in ECR and affecting the aquifer.

Meanwhile, responding to the Greater Chennai Corporation’s press release on Tuesday, members of the VGP Golden Seaview Residents Welfare Association, Palavakkam, said rainwater can be easily drained with more recharge wells.

R. Balakrishnan, the association’s treasurer said, “Inundation during 2015 was manmade in the area as commercial establishments had let out stagnant water into the roads.”

Many residents’ associations have written to the GCC requesting to share data on the water table, environment impact assessment report and detailed project report.

Environmentalist Nityanand Jayaraman said the information specified by the Corporation, including rainwater harvesting through the project and flooding instances, could not be verified as project documents were not in the public domain.

Moreover, the high-tide line stretch between Palavakkam and Uthandi, had been identified as a Coastal Regulation Zone 1A and turtle nesting area. Discharging huge quantities of water in turtle nesting zones without an environmental impact assessment would have a serious impact on the species.

Mr. Jayaraman said the residential and commercial structures in 980 hectares were not entirely built up as made to appear by the GCC and had unpaved spaces, and comply with rainwater harvesting norms.

People in fishing hamlets alleged that the project would affect marine life. Harikrishna Sekar of Injambakkam said, “We are already travelling 15 km into the sea for fishing. The fish yield is likely to reduce further when water collected through the ISWD is drained into beaches.”

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 7:13:34 PM |

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