Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) has drawn up a new project report for a proposed flyover connecting EM Bypass and New Town’s Biswa Bangla gate.
The flyover proposal promises to abide by the conditions laid down by the National Wetlands Committee, senior officials in the urban development department said.
In the new alignment, the flyover will not pass over the core area of the East Kolkata Wetlands but skirt around it over Nalban and Nicco Park.
Senior KMDA engineers involved with the project said 5km out of the proposed 7km-long flyover would stand on 36 piers instead of the earlier plan of 86 and precautions would be in place to ensure that the ecologically fragile wetlands are not affected.
A team of officials from KMDA has met their counterparts in the East Kolkata Wetland Management Authority to discuss the new project report and the conditions laid down by the Union environment ministry.
A team of experts from the Wetland Management Authority of the state government will scan the report further before it is sent to the National Wetlands Committee for approval.
“An environmental impact assessment examining both beneficial and adverse consequences of the project has been completed and these effects have been taken into account while drawing up the new report,” said a senior official of the urban development department. “We have ticked all the boxes to ensure that the flyover doesn’t intrude into the wetlands and its biodiversity is not affected.”
The East Kolklata Wetlands, protected under the Ramsar Convention, is regarded as the city’s kidneys. Since India is a signatory of the Ramsar Convention, any proposed construction over a Ramsar site has to be approved by the environment ministry.
Senior officials in the the East Calcutta Wetland Management Authority, who have gone through the new project report, said there were provisions for creating compensatory water bodies for the land to be used to build the piers of the proposed flyover in the vicinity of the wetlands.
“The new project report spells out how the urban development department wants to go about achieving this,” said an official of the environment department who was a part of the meeting.
Bonani Kakkar, an environment activist who had gone to court against the previous alignment of the flyover, said: “Just for cutting down 10 minutes of journey to the airport we are trying to build a flyover over the wetlands. The project will specifically affect the migration of water fouls in the area along with hundreds of other birds. Even fishing activity will be hit and Calcutta will lose the only repository of storm water.”