CHENNAI: The Southern Bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the Public Works Department (PWD) to halt the construction of a check dam at Parakani village of Kanniyakumari district for failing to obtain Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance.
The application alleged that PWD began check dam construction within the CRZ area and No Development Zone. Due to this construction, groundwater quality has been affected, depriving the drinking water source to the residents. Besides this, there is a possibility of submerging certain areas due to construction, ultimately affecting the livelihood of fishers in the hamlet, stated the application.
The bench comprising K Ramakrishnan and expert member Satyagopal Korlapati disposed of the case observing that the construction of the check dam is illegal as it is done within the CRZ area. However, the tribunal taking into the consideration of public interest and money, directed not to demolish the check dam, but to put a halt to the construction instead.
Further, the Tribunal directed PWD to avail CRZ clearance from State Coastal Zone Management Authority-Tamil Nadu (SCZMA) to proceed with the construction. However, the Tribunal also directed SCZMA to ascertain environmental damages to impose compensation as per law.
Additionally, it also ordered the PWD officials executing the project to implement joint committee recommendations, set up by the Tribunal for the purpose of mitigating the damages caused to the Thamirabarani river on account of check dam construction.
Meanwhile, the Tribunal has also urged SCZMA to suggest means to remedy the damage caused to the environment due to the construction of the dam. Besides this, PWD directed to inspect and identify encroachments in the river bed on account of the temporary diversion made by providing coffer dams for construction of the check dam at Parakani.