A committee of experts appointed by the National Green Tribunal (southern zone) visited various locations on the East Coast Road (ECR) on Thursday to study and evaluate the ₹270 crore stormwater drain project being implemented by the Greater Chennai Corporation.
Experts, including M.T. Karupaiah, Scientist E, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change; S. Subramanian, Central Ground Water Board representing the Tamil Nadu Coastal Zone Management Authority; A. Muthiah, Superintending Engineer, Palar River basin of Public Works Department; P. Ashok Kumar, Superintending Engineer of Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board; and Vijaya Ravichandran, Scientist G of the National Institute of Ocean Technology, visited over 30 spots during the day-long inspection. The NGT had directed them to study whether the project required any Coastal Regulatory Zone clearance.
Residents said there were 27 outfall points where the stormwater drainage network would empty onto the beach front.
Advocate V. Suresh said the beach front was a CRZ 1A zone and a prohibited area. He said during rainy season, there was a possibility of reverse flow into the network.
Residents of Palavakkam, Neelankarai, Kottivakkam and Injambakkam and fishermen from Nainarkuppam and Panaiyur said what was needed was intelligent water management.
Corporation officials were present during the committee’s visit. They explained to the committee various aspects of the project, including its purpose of preventing floods in thickly populated residential areas.
They said that some structures were to be constructed to allow percolation of rainwater into the ground at 110 locations.