Centre grants terms of reference for Marina pen monument proposal

The State government has to carry out an environmental impact assessment study before CRZ clearance can be obtained

September 16, 2022 06:30 am | Updated 02:01 pm IST - CHENNAI

An expert panel under the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has granted the terms of reference, with conditions, to the Tamil Nadu government's proposal to build a monument in the Bay of Bengal off the Marina beach in Chennai to honour the contributions of former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi to Tamil literature.

The Expert Appraisal Committee considered the State’s representation made at its virtual meeting last month and recommended the proposal for prescribing specific terms of reference for undertaking a detailed environmental impact assessment, along with a public hearing. The panel has specified general as well as specific terms of reference.

Since the proposed monument would be located some 360 metres into the Bay of Bengal from the Marina beach coast, the State government sought permission under Section 4 (ii)(j) of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification amended in March 22, 2016.

Former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, regarded as a man of letters, has authored many books. Photo: File

Former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, regarded as a man of letters, has authored many books. Photo: File | Photo Credit: M. Vedhan

On being granted the terms of reference, the State government has to submit the draft environment impact assessment report, with the environmental management plan, a draft risk assessment report with the disaster management plan, among other documents, to the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board.

The State government is to finalise these documents after addressing the relevant issues raised at the hearing and submit them to the State Coastal Zone Management Authority for its examination and recommendation to the Union Ministry. The committee would then consider the plea for CRZ clearance.

The proposed site for the “Muthamizh Arignar Dr. Kalaignar Pen Monument” falls under CRZ-IA, CRZ-II and CRZ-IVA areas, and the estimated cost of the project is over ₹80 crore. There are similar monuments in other parts of the country, such as the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial, currently being constructed by the Maharashtra government in the Arabian Sea, which has received the CRZ clearance.

According to the proposal, the pen pedestal above the sea would be over 42 metre in height, maybe a few feet taller than the statue of Tamil poet-saint Thiruvalluvar in Kanniyakumari.

Also Read | Fishermen oppose pen-shaped memorial in the sea

Visitors would have to use a 650-meter-long and 7-meter-wide bridge with glass flooring to reach the 42-meter-high monument. There is a plan to allow buggy vehicles for visitors. It would be at an elevation of 6 meters from the high-tide line, going by the proposal chalked out by the Public Works Department.

A model of a pen used by Karunanidhi may be showcased in the monument to symbolise his contributions to Tamil literature, and the monument would be located close to his mausoleum on Anna Square.

Karunanidhi, regarded as a man of letters, has authored many books. After his death, a pen was buried along with his mortal remains to symbolise his love for letters.

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