Saturday, December 30, 2017

2nd runway, new terminals violate clearances: Centre

Chennai: Airports Authority of India (AAI) built the city airport's new terminals and the bridge for its second runway across the Adyar in violation of environmental clearances issued for the project, says a compliance report prepared by ministry of environment and forests and climate change (MoEF&CC).
The report vindicates the stand of activists and residents of localities in the vicinity of the airport who have argued that the bridge AAI built to extend the second airstrip infringes upon various rules and causes the river to flood residential areas in Manapakkam in heavy rain.
"AAI has deviated from the original dimensions of the bridge as approved by MoEF&CC," says a certified compliance report the ministry filed, based on inspections of the terminals and the bridge for the runway on November 14. "In addition, the Adyar river [over which AAI has built the bridge] appears to fall within the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ). In view of this, CRZ classification of this area and the status of land may be sought from the competent authority. Thereafter, an appropriate view may be taken by the MoEF&CC."
AAI, it says, has built a bridge with a span of 200mx462.84m on RCC columns of 0.87m diameter on the Adyar; the ministry, it notes, had given approval for a bridge with a span of 200mx415m on RCC columns of 1.2m diameter, and 1.4m above the river's high flood line. It says AAI also deviated in the total height of the bridge: The ministry approved a bridge of a height of 11.15m but the agency built a bridge only 10.50m high.
The report says there are deviations in construction of the new terminals, too, which AAI inaugurated in 2013. The ministry approved of a total built-up area of 1,28,000sqm but AAI established a built-up area of 2,14,041sqm without obtaining prior approval and necessary consents.
"The report vindicates my stand," former pilot and air safety expert Captain Mohan Ranganathan said. "AAI has built the bridge in violation of all norms, which [contributed] to the floods of 2015. It should be demolished.
30/12/17 V Ayyappan/Times of India