Sethu project: panel sees no major environmental change
MADURAI: The Monitoring Committee on Environmental Impact Issues of the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project has found no major environmental change due to dredging in the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar.
After review of the ecological impact by the reconstituted panel here on Monday, its chairman S. Ramachandran said a stringent monitoring system was in place ever since dredging started in July 2006. Water, sedimentation, noise and air quality were being monitored every four hours and eight hours, on a weekly and monthly basis and across various seasons. “The monitoring has established that there is no major change in environment. Even the minor changes reported were well within the natural variability,” Prof. Ramachandran said. “There is an increase in fish catch. Hence, the fear of environmentalists is not substantiated. Scientific monitoring has proved that the changes are insignificant.”
Denying the allegation that improper dumping of dredged sand had led to grounding of fish boats, Prof. Ramachandran said the dumping was being carried out away from the shore. He attributed the grounding of boats to changes in the seabed following the tsunami.
On the charge that the sea was remaining rough for a longer period due to the dredging, he said it was due to climatic changes triggered by global warming.
On Ramar Sethu
Prof. Ramachandran said the Adam’s Bridge was a natural phenomenon and that only 0.5 per cent of the land mass (300 metres) was being dredged.
‘No environmental changes due to SSCP’
Madurai, July 30: No major changes have been observed in the marine environment due to work on the Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project in the Bay of Bengal, the reconstituted monitoring committee on environmental issues said today.
Committee chairman, Prof. S Ramachandran told reporters after discussions with scientists, historians and engineers that the minor changes found were within permissible limits and would also occur naturally.
“The environment impact is being monitored very closely on an hourly basis. In the last 22 months I can with certainty say that the fish catch has improved and the variety of fish coming to Gulf of Mannar also has increased,” he said.
He refuted the charge of fishermen that their boats were were getting stuck in the area as silt dredged from the sea was not being dumped in the designated sites and said the debris was being dumped in 25 foot deep sea The existence of sand dunes could be due to the impact of Tsunami.
“Those opposed to the project have not substantiated their claims on the environmental impact while we have proved there is no impact. Besides dredging is going on around the world in various places and there is no harmful impact,” he said.
Ramchandran said the fish population would not be affected even after the channel was dug, as oil tankers and ships laden with chemicals would not be allowed to pass through the area. “The sea will be monitored till the SSCP is over and even after that,” he said. (Agencies)