India’s Dying Beaches: Chennai Expressway – NDTV Report

The Tamil Nadu government’s solution to the 900 new cars hitting the streets of Chennai every day is to erect an elevated expressway along three beaches, one of which is a protected natural area.

The text of the report is below:

Sanjay Pinto
Tuesday, June 09, 2009, (Chennai)

If the Tamil Nadu government has its way, Chennai could have an elevated corridor from the Light House to the East Coast Road. It would be a 7.4 km, six-lane bridge coming up along three beaches in Chennai.

The model made by an NGO is a rough indication of what the world’s second longest beach — the Marina would look like, once the elevated corridor comes up.

But it’s a nightmare for environmentalists that has come to light through this final feasibility report of Tamil Nadu’s Highways department which NDTV has a copy of.

The Highways Department says the Rs 1000 crore project aims to decongest peak hour traffic because every day, at least 900 new vehicles hit the city’s roads.

But experts feel there are better ways of de-congesting the city like removing encroachments and improving the public transport system.

And environmentalists fear the expressway will pollute the beaches, displace fishing communities and endanger sensitive ecological zones.

“The Adyar creek is a protected area and has migratory birds and mangroves, which will be completely destroyed. It will also permanently destroy the nesting grounds of the endangered Olive Ridley Turtles,” said Swetha Narayan, coordinator, Save Chennai Beaches.

But with various citizens groups and environmentalists already up in arms, the project is bound to be mired in litigation even before it takes off.

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