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Forest Department’s objection to Metran Kayal project
March 30, 2010
Forest Department’s objection to Metran Kayal project

http://beta.thehindu.com/news/states/kerala/article329444.ece

30 March 2010


Staff Reporter, Kottayam:

The proposed tourism project at Metran Kayal near Kumarakom which has been in the centre of an environmental controversy would need the prior environmental clearance from the Central Government, according to a letter to the Industries Department from the Department of Forests and Wild Life.

The Industries Department had directed the project report for the proposed Kumarakom Tourism Resort Village at Metran kayal to the Forests and Wild Life Department for their comments, vide letter number WL12-9116/2009 dated 1-12-09.

The Forests Department in their reply has said that” as per notification issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests on 14-09-2006, the project seems to be Category BI project and hence prior environmental clearance from the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA)”.

It goes on to say that “as per the above notification, in the absence of a duly constituted SEIAA by the Government of India category B project will be treated as A project and may require clearance from the Central government “,.

According to environmentalists the notification has categorised all projects and activities into two categories: Category A and Category B, based on the special extent of potential impacts and potential impacts on human health and natural and man made resources .The Metran Kayal project which envisages a” resort themed township with an 18-hole international golf course, resort hotels and spa, cafes and restaurants street mall villas “etc. comes under Category B1 ie, “townships and area development”, and would require Environmental Impact Assessment study.

Letter from the Forests and Wild Life Department has also pointed out that the Vembanad Lake is a RAMSAR site notified in 2002 and large number of resident and migratory birds are seen in the paddy fields in and around the Lake environs. Already a project for integrated development of wildlife habitats, with a financial assistance of Rs.33. 95 lakh from Government of India has been sanctioned, it has pointed out.

As per the letter the population of migratory ducks and teals have now moved away from the lake area on account of constant disturbances of house boats plying across the lake through out the day. “The project would necessitate filling up of a major portion of the area. This would result in the disappearance of the wetland and consequent adverse impact” on population of migratory birds.