New bus stand at the expense of wetland

City corporation's efforts to construct a new bus stand by filling about 3.5 acres of wetland forming part of the Kurichy Lake have courted controversy, with green activists criticizing the move.

It is a matter of grave concern that the corporation is now filling a portion of the Kurichy Wetland while there is growing clamor for protection of water bodies. It is sad that the corporation is undertaking such a dubious initiative,'' said K Mohan Raj of Save Coimbatore Wetlands.

Interestingly, the corporation has started the effort without even waiting for a no objection certificate from the Public Works Department, the custodian of all state lakes. We don't understand the need for a bus stand in close proximity to the Ukkadam bus stand. Even if there is a need, it must not be at the expense of the Kurichy Lake,'' said Mohanraj, who is planning to initiate legal measures against the corporation regarding the issue.

The move would cause substantial damage to the water conservation efforts in the city. Corporation authorities are claiming that there is no water in the area that it is reclaiming now. But satellite images show that they are areas which stored water for several years. Dumping of concrete debris had made the area dry,'' alleged P Mahesh, an eco activist.

Even the Ukkadam bus stand was built after reclaiming a water body. The Ootty bus stand is another example of bus stands coming up on water bodies. In each of these cases, the local communities eventually realized that filling up water bodies was suicidal,'' said Mohanraj. The corporation was planning the bus stand to accommodate buses bound for Pollachi, Udumalpet and Palani.

The lake which spreads across 335 acres, is one of the largest water bodies in the city. Activists demand bringing city lakes under Tamil Nadu Parks, Playfields and Open spaces (Protection and Regulation) Act of 1959. "We need to protect the lake as a lung space of the city apart from allowing it to play the role of helping recharge ground water and mitigating floods. It is high time that authorities wake up to reality,'' said Mahesh.

Source : TOI

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