By G Babu Jayakumar
CHENNAI, India — A blanket exemption of roads on stilts in the draft Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification 2010 would not augur well for the peace and tranquility of southern Chennai residents, warned prominent citizens of Chennai on Thursday.
Further, it endangered the Olive Ridley turtles as their nesting spots fell right under the proposed Elevated Beach Expressway.
Stressing on the need to create awareness on the ill effects of three proposed projects — High Speed Circular Transport Corridor from Fortis Malar Hospital to Ramapuram along the Adyar River bank, Elevated Expressway from Light House of Kottivakkam and the Port to Maduravoyal Expressway — the citizens demanded deletion of roads-on-stilts from the CRZ notification.
They told reporters that the notification, for which comments and objections could be send till November 14, might bring in a bonanza for the rich and privileged.
Wildlife filmmaker Shekar Dattatri said Olive Ridley turtles would be overwhelmed by the lights on the expressway and move towards the land after hatching, only to be run over by vehicles on other roads.
C V K Maithreya, president, Theosophical Order of Service, Chennai Region, expressed concern over how the expressway would affect the 256 acres of forest on the Theosophical Society premises.
Maithreya said the debris of the project was likely to choke the Adyar estuary and how that could lead to the Chembarambakkam lake getting flooded and leaving most parts of Adyar under water.
K P Subramanian, retired professor of Anna University and traffic engineer, said elevated roads had not solved traffic problems.
He added that stilts on roads were simply unsafe as gushing sea water could just lift and throw them apart.
Nityanand Jayaraman of Save Chennai Beaches Campaign said the US-based Wilbur Smith Associates did the feasibility study for all the three projects.
It’s final feasibility report on the expressway was not only totally silent on the CRZ clearance, but also concluded that it was feasible under current laws.