‘Pallikaranai marshland will not be dredged unnecessarily’

Govt. makes a written submission in High Court

September 23, 2021 01:01 am | Updated 01:02 am IST - CHENNAI

The Madras High Court on Wednesday recorded the submission of the State government that desilting of Pallikaranai marshland in Chennai was done in the past, after obtaining expert advice, only to maintain better water level in the wetland and that no dredging work would be undertaken in future except when such a necessity arises out of removal of encroachments from the waterbody.

Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D. Audikesavalu recorded the submission made by government counsel C. Harsha Raj while disposing of a public interest litigation petition preferred by environmental activist G. Sundarrajan of Poovulagin Nanbargal early this year.

The litigant’s counsel M. Radhakrishnan argued against sidelining of Conservation Authority of Pallikaranai Marsh Land (CAPML).

In reply, the government counsel assured the court tha, all funds received from the Centre for maintaining the wetland would be deposited only in the bank account of CAPML.

Mr. Raj said ₹20.30 crore funding from the Centre in 2018 had been deposited into that account and that all funds allocated in future by the Centre as well as the State government would be remitted in the same account.

On the issue of dredging, he said the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Consultancy Service (NABCONS) had prepared a detailed project report titled ‘Improved resilience of urban eco system to climate change through restoration of Pallikaranai marshland’ under Green Climate Fund and the study impressed upon the need for desilting the wet land for improving its water holding capacity.

“In the DPR, removal of debris and de-silting of channels was proposed on the northern side of the 200 feet road (Velachery -Tambaram Main Road) to maintain the water level and the encroachment area in the wetland which is to be restored. The debris was also removed to restore the ecology of marsh as suggested by the study. After removing the debris, shallow water habitats have been created by on the marsh land,” he said.

“With the removed debris, a bund has been formed and along the bund, a walkway has also been created. The bund was strengthened and stabilized with vegetation by planting native indigenous tree species, shrubs and herbs. The alien and invasive species like prosopis have been removed. The marsh land has been consolidated by construction of protection barrier along the Velachery-Tambaram Main Road for a length of 1,700 metres,” he said.

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