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Adyar creek: questions remain

J. Malarvizhi

Revised plan lays stress on wetland restoration in Adyar Poonga project

— Photo: R_Ravindran

IN FOCUS: The recent court order on the legal dispute about the nature of the Adyar Poonga project has declared the revised plan, which puts the focus on wetland restoration, as the one to be implemented in full. A view of the entry to the Poonga.

CHENNAI: Wetland restoration should be the focus of the Adyar Poonga project, according to the revised plan for the creek that was validated by a recent court order. The order, issued in the legal dispute about the nature of the project, has said that the revised plan for the creek, dated January 1, 2008, should be implemented in full.

A monitoring committee, consisting of representatives of non-governmental organisations and the Adyar Poonga Trust, should be established, according to the order. However, it has left unclear the number of members in the committee which, acting as a vehicle of the High Court, would supervise the implementation of the project. The Poonga Trust is free to ‘nominate such number of members as necessary to the committee, one of whom shall act as the chairperson.’

The order has not specified the powers that would be available to the committee, sources say. This could prove to the advantage of the committee as its role would not be limited to the court-defined powers. This could also lead to the committee having to refer back to court about every dispute that could arise.

The court order has asked the committee to arrive at decisions by consensus. This would require all members to attend every meeting — the court has suggested bi-annual meetings or more, if required.

The committee would become one more agency involved in the implementation of the project after the Adyar Poonga Trust nominates its members. The Tamil Nadu Urban Development Fund (TNUDF) had set up the trust to implement the project that invited consultants to draw up plans.

The Auroville-based Pitchandikulam Forest Consultants were among the agencies involved in drawing up plans that were disputed on several grounds, including the previously-reported conflict about whether the eco-park restoration plan should be restricted to one portion of the creek or include the entire area. The Trust would now call for tenders again to invite contractors to implement the project.

According to the conditions set forth by the plan, the structures to be set up in the park area should be temporary and reversible, NGO representatives said.

The Adyar Poonga Trust had earlier suggested that parts of the revised plan be implemented rather than in full. The initial proposal had assigned one portion of the creek for the representation of the Coromandel coastal eco-system, while the remainder was to be restored as a creek.

The plan has proposed that the two systems be maintained as a temporary measure, with five years set as the timeline for reconnecting both portions by systematically reducing the pollutants entering the area.

This would require co-ordination with other local bodies and government agencies — another issue that has not been spelt out in full and could hold up the project in the later stages.

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