Expert Appraisal Committee defers Pulicat lake wall proposal, seeks more details

The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Environment Ministry has directed a sub-committee to visit the coastal stretch of Pulicat lake where the Department of Fisheries, Tamil Nadu, has proposed two training walls for permanent stability for the bar mouth of the lake, and ascertain details about the impact of the project.

The EAC directed the sub-committee to also discuss the findings with a team from the National Institute of Ocean Technology, the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), the Tamil Nadu State Coastal Zone Management Authority and the Department of Fisheries.

The Department of Fisheries proposed to construct two training walls on the north and south side of the lake at the bar mouth, which will provide access to fishermen throughout the year. It also proposed to dredge the channel after the construction of the wall.

The EAC deferred the proposal for want of further details.

Impact on wildlife

The EAC directed the project proponent to submit the report of a study already conducted by SACON on the proposed project’s impact on migratory birds since the Pulicat Bird Sanctuary is located within 10 km of the project site.

It has also sought data on fisheries and their decline observed in the past years. Since the proposal is related to making a permanent opening at the bar mouth, data on salinity of the lake is also important. Available data on salinity of the lake over the past 10-20 years shall be submitted, the EAC said.

The committee also said it would be too premature to consider the proposal for construction of the training walls from a Coastal Regulation Zone perspective as the Comprehensive Shoreline Protection Management Plan of Tamil Nadu was awaiting approval.

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