Two decades after the idea arose to open sea mouths into the Pulicat lake to rejuvenate the nation’s second largest brackish water lake – the first being the Chilka Lake – the stage is set for the project’s implementation.
A detailed project report (DPR) was prepared by the National Institute of Ocean Technology after a study on bathymetry, topography, hydrodynamics (waves, tides & currents) and water quality(salinity & turbidity) in 2017.
The Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) carried out a study in 2019 on the ecosystem and its impact on the flora and fauna and wildlife.
Their report stresses that the exchange of water between sea and lake will stabilize the salinity levels, thereby increasing the diversity and abundance of planktons and fish availability in the lake.
This can help in sustaining the larger wetland bird population in Pulicat Bird Sanctuary, which lies in the Central Asian Flyway Region.
Now, the Chennai-based Indomer Coastal Hydraulics (P) Ltd is also conducting a survey for dredging operations to open the sea mouth at the instance of the National Centre for Coastal Research.
The survey by Indomer is nearing completion and the AP Fisheries department, which is coordinating with all the line departments, is gearing up to start the dredging works from January 2023, fisheries wing officials said.
Tirupati MP M Gurumoorthy told Media that the sea mouth would be opened at Rayadoruvu village located on the northern side of Satish Dhawan Space Centre. The state government has initiated action for the requisite statutory clearances.
Permission has been obtained from the state’s principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife) for conducting the Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) survey.
Further, the state government has requested the National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR), Chennai, to take up the DGPS survey for opening the sea mouth into Pulicat Lake at Rayadaruvu and prepare the Detailed Project Report (DPR).
NCCR prepared and submitted the DPR at an estimated cost of Rs 128.80 crore in April 2022 for opening the sea mouth at Rayadaruvu and dredging the channel length of 2800m towards the lake.
Now, the Andhra Pradesh government has submitted the DPR to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, seeking 100% grant -funding under the Sagarmala Scheme of the order of 128.80 crore.
From July 2022, the state government also initiated studies for obtaining the Coastal Regulation Zone and other environmental clearances from the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
Sharing the details, Gurumoorthy expressed confidence in the completion of the project within the next three years while explaining his efforts to secure funds under the Sagarmala scheme.