CHENNAI: Marina is all set to turn disabled-friendly as the Greater Chennai Corporation has received the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance to build walkways, a proposal that was pending for a long time.
An expert appraisal committee of the Union Environment Ministry approved the project in its meeting on January 27. The walkways will be built in two locations. The first, behind Labour Statue, will be 380-m long and 3-m wide and the other behind Gandhi Statue, which will be 125-m long.
Senior corporation officials told Express the walkways will be temporary in nature. “No concrete structures will be built. Only slip resistance and waterproof marine plywood will be used. Wooden hand rails will be provided on the sides for safety and support. Recycled wood will be used for the walkway platform. The existing natural slope of the beach will be used for easy mobility.”
The committee chairman, Deepak Arun Apte, while appraising the project, directed the Corporation to ensure that the walkways shall not be allowed to be used as pathway for bicycles, bikes, etc, or any other use, besides what is specified. He said appropriate caution/signboards be placed for information of public.
Calling it a public interest project, the Committee encouraged Chennai Corporation to get the clearances at State-level. “Perhaps, such activities are to be taken up at the state level by the agency concerned, like Tamil Nadu Coastal Zone Management Authority (TNCZMA) and the Union Environment Ministry may examine the need for such cases being taken up at the centre,” the committee observed and added that clearances for similar projects were granted at State-level itself in Maharashtra.
TNCZMA had recommended the project for CRZ clearance way back in June last year, but was put on hold awaiting Centre’s nod. On the occasion of International Day of Disabled Persons on December 3, the civic body had organised an event, ‘Marina for all’, creating temporary pathways on Marina sands, which was well appreciated. Corporation officials said total cost of the project would be about `90 lakh.