NGT asks CMRL to get green nod for new line

The line touches Nanmangalam Reserve Forest boundary

The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal has directed Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. (CMRL) to not proceed with its project along the Nanmangalam Reserve Forest area without getting necessary permissions and approvals required under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.

The NGT has directed that since the project is still under tender stage, CMRL must obtain the permissions and then proceed with the work.

As part of CMRL’s phase-2, which consists of three corridors, the C-5 alignment connects Madhavaram in the north to Sholinganallur in the south. CMRL submitted before the tribunal that the alignment is confined to the periphery of the Reserve Forest and does not pass through the Nanmangalam Reserve Forest.

“As the existing road between Velakkal and Medavakkam Koot Road at places does not even have two lanes width, the CMRL has no other option, but take the alignment along the boundary of the Nanmangalam Reserve Forest compound wall, whereby, half of the viaduct projects over the existing road, requiring the other half projecting on to the forest area,” CMRL submitted.

CMRL submitted that a request had been made to the Forest Department to convert 1.569 hectares for non-forestry use and had submitted an online application as per the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.

“This area constitutes only 0.48% of 320.92 hectares of the existing Nanmangalam Reserve Forest and the impact on biological diversity on account of the project is insignificant,” CMRL submitted.

It contended that after completion of the viaduct structure, the entire area below the overhang would be redeemed scientifically and will provide all necessary precautionary methodology to protect Indian Eagle Owl that has nesting sites inside that reserve forest.

The location of the station falls on the playground area of the Quaide Milleth College without disturbing the existing trees, it submitted.

Clarifications sought

The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Chennai, submitted that the project cannot proceed without obtaining necessary permission and that the application filed by CMRL was returned for certain clarifications. CMRL has not resubmitted the application, he said. Only after the resubmission will the application be considered for necessary permission, he added.

CMRL informed the Tribunal that it will proceed with the work only after obtaining the permission.

The Bench directed CMRL to strictly comply with the conditions, if any, imposed by the Forest Department.

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