HomeIndiaComprehensive reconnaissance and survey: choosing the right site

Comprehensive reconnaissance and survey: choosing the right site

Several factors, after extensive reconnaissance and bathymetric surveys, helped the Tamil Nadu government to finalize the site for the construction of a proposed memorial in the Bay of Bengal for late DMK leader and former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.

After the decision was taken at the highest level last year, several weeks of closed-door meetings by officials gave shape to the idea. The Tamil Development and Information (Monuments) Department gave its administrative approval for the proposal.

Soon after, the Public Works Department (PWD) was directed to prepare the components of the project. The PWD, in turn, entrusted the Institute of Remote Sensing (IRS) at Anna University to identify the location within the coordinates suggested by it and prepare the local area CRZ map.

The IRS analyzed the geomorphic features of the coastal area with the use of satellite imagery.

After bathymetry surveys, it was realized that the minimum depth required for the construction of the monument was 6 m from the high-tide line to sea level, which could be achieved only at 360 m from the low-tide line of the sea. This means that the depth of the sea at which the monument will be located is six meters.

Three sites were considered along the Marina Beach coast – one close to the mouth of the Coom River, another close to the complex of memorials to the four former chief ministers and the other close to the Loop Road.

While the first site was rejected because of its proximity to the mouth of the Coom River and heavy siltation, the third site was rejected on the grounds that it was close to the nesting sites of the Olive Ridley Turtles and Lighthouse.

Disturbances in ecological factors, proximity to existing monuments, potential traffic congestion, movement of members of the public and tourists, navigational impacts and potential disturbances to non-ecological factors, such as lighthouses, were among the key criteria against which the three sites stood. were graded.

In June, the PWD put it up for the consideration of the Chennai District Coastal Zone Management Authority, which approved it with certain conditions.

The following month, the state-level authority recommended the project to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and sent an application for terms of reference.

In July, the PWD sent a proposal to the Environment Impact Assessment Authority under the Union ministry, which sought some of the required documents for the project by August. The PWD has handed them over.

If the procedures are followed as planned, the construction is likely to start in May next year and the monument is expected to be installed by October 2025.

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