Achuthanandan panel to decide on Kochi Cricket Stadium

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 22, 2010 13:30 hrs

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 22 (IANS) A committee chaired by Chief Minister V.S.Achuthanandan will decide the fate of the cricket stadium in KOchi, which has run into environmental problems.

The union environment and forests ministry Tuesday issued notice to the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) for destroying mangroves in Ernakulam district to construct the stadium in Kochi, the distrit's biggest city, but state Revenue Minister K.P.Rajendran told the Kerala assembly Wednesday that a committee under the chief minister will take the call.

'A high-level committee under Chief Minister V.S.Achuthanandan will look into the issues of making any relaxation of rules for giving the necessary clearance for the proposed cricket stadium at Eda Kochi,' said Rajendran in reply to a question raised by local legislator M.Dinesh Mani.

A cricket stadium has become inevitable in view of the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), in which Kochi franchise in a new entrant.

According to the envioronment ministry, the KCA said that there were no mangroves at the site though photographic evidence available with it affirmed the mangroves at the site till Sep 3 but these had been removed by Sep 22.

'The mangroves appear to have been removed to a large extent by the KCA, which is in violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone notification and the site is an important bird area,' the ministry said in its notice.

The ministry said the KCA violated the notification by land reclamation, disturbing the natural course of sea water, destruction of mangroves, construction and other development activities.

The Kerala forest department is already investigating the destruction of mangroves in 23.5 hectares of land and a first information report (FIR) has been registered.

The ministry has asked the Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority (KSCZMA) to take appropriate action against the violators and submit an action-taken report within 15 days.

The new tangle has come about after the Kochi IPL team got a new lease of life after it was almost scrapped from the IPL-4.

The state government will have to decide if there can be any relaxation of rules for the proposed stadium because an NGO, the People's Movement for Earth, Justice and Democracy, has demanded the scrapping of the stadium project.

Chairperson of the organisation C.R. Neelakantan has pointed out that the stadium will come up at the cost of basic environmental rules and regulations.

The various guidelines that would be violated include the Coastal Regulation Zone guidelines, Kerala Paddy Fields and Wetland Conservation Act, Biodiversity Act, Land Reforms Act and the Forest Act.

The committee under Achuthanandan will have to look into the guidelines of two acts of the state government -- the Kerala Paddy Fields and Wetland Conservation Act and the Land Reforms Act.