Today's Paper

High-powered panel for beach improvement

CHENNAI AUG. 10. Soon after the demolition of Seerani Arangam on the Marina last night, the State Government today announced the constitution of the high-powered State Beach Management Authority with the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, as chairperson.

District-level panels, headed by Ministers, have been formed for Kancheepuram, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Pudukottai, Tuticorin, Ramanathapuram and Kanyakumari, in addition to a committee for the Chennai Metropolitan Area.

Giving details of the decisions, an official release gave reasons why the Arangam, venue of many public meetings for decades, was pulled down. The action was taken after consulting the Public Works Department, the Chennai Corporation Commissioner and the city police chief.

The exercise was the first step to protect and beautify the Marina and make it hygienic", the release stated, adding that the Chief Minister chaired a meeting on July 30 to discuss beach beautification and improvement of other coastal areas. The Government said the structure was dilapidated and was being used by anti-social elements. In the PWD's opinion, the Arangam's roof got rusted due to its proximity to the sea and the structure developed several cracks. The Chennai Corporation Commissioner maintained that the environment had been affected as the area was used for large congregations. Besides, it created traffic congestion. The Police Commissioner supported the demolition on the ground that public meetings at the Arangam would hamper law and order and crime prevention.

These points were discussed at the meeting and the decision to pull down the structure was taken, the release said.

The newly-constituted State-level body would comprise the Ministers, O. Paneerselvam, C. Ponnaiyan, D. Jayakumar, S. Semmalai, and Anita R. Radhakrishnan, and several officials, including the Chief Secretary and Finance Secretary. The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority's vice-chairperson and member-secretary would be part of the Authority. It would be the apex body to formulate policies for coastal areas of CMA and districts.

As regards the Chennai Metropolitan Beach Committee, it would have jurisdiction over Marina, Santhome and Elliots (Besant Nagar) beaches and the coastal belt of Tiruvanmiyur-Neelankarai. Headed by Mr. Paneerselvam, the committee would comprise Mr. Radhakrishnan, the Chief Secretary, the Finance Secretary, the CMDA's vice-chairperson and the Member-Secretary, the Pollution Control Board chief, the Collectors of Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur, and the city Corporation Commissioner and the police chief.

The Chennai Metropolitan Beach Committee would also have representatives of industry, oceanography and landscaping.

As for district-level committees, the Handlooms Minister V. Somasundaram, would be the chief of the panel for Kancheepuram; the Local Administration Minister, M.C.Sampath, for Cuddalore; the Agriculture Minister, R. Jeevanantham, for Nagapattinam; the Fisheries Minister, M. Radhakrishnan, for Pudukottai; the Housing Minister, R. Radhakrishnan, for Tuticorin; the Labour Minister, A. Anwar Rhazza, for Ramanthapuram and the Health Minister, N. Thalavai Sundaram, for Kanyakumari.

The committees would meet monthly and send their reports to the Authority.