The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, has suggested that the government create an appropriate corridor for laying submarine cable systems in the coastal area for better management and to avoid conflict with various stakeholders considering the increasing number of international cable landing on the Chennai coast.
The EAC deliberated on a proposal to lay a submarine cable system spanning 8,100 km for the Myanmar/Malaysia-India-Singapore Transit (MIST) landing near M.R.C. Nagar in Chennai and Versova in Mumbai. The Committee recommended the project for CRZ clearance with certain conditions.
The MIST is an international submarine cable communication network that will traverse undersea to connect India with countries such as Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. It will provide secure, reliable, robust and affordable telecom facilities in Asia with the main trunk route being from Tuas in Singapore to Mumbai in India, the project proponent submitted.
At Chennai, the cable will land at Santhome beach and will terminate at the proposed Beach Man Hole (BMH) to be constructed at M.R.C. Nagar from where it will then be taken for distribution. In Mumbai, the cable will land at Versova beach and will be housed in the BMH proposed there.
The EAC said out of a total project length of 8,100 km, only 523.50 km fell in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) up to 12 nautical miles from the seaward side to the Low Tide Line (LTL) and the LTL to CRZ fell on the landward side on the Chennai coast, while it was only 202.06 km on the Mumbai coast.
“The Committee observed that the project is important for network connectivity of India with other parts of the world. The Committee suggested that BMH locations shall avoid the eroding areas, which would ultimately lead to destruction of facilities,” according to the minutes of the meeting.