MoEFCC Notes Gross Non-Compliances to Existing Environmental Clearances by NTECL Vallur Thermal Power Station; Confirms Fisher Suspicions

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Chennai, 24th July 2018: NTECL Vallur is operating without a valid license from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, and the new ash pond that it is constructing inside the Ennore Creek is also illegal, according to a monitoring report by the Union Environment Ministry. The report is in response to complaints by Ennore fisherfolk that NTECL was building a new flyash pond inside a biologically productive, and mangrove-rich wetlands of the Ennore Creek and was violating conditions of environmental clearances given to them.

The report found that the existing ash pond was unlined and in violation of license conditions. Flyash contains a range of toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium, selenium and chromium, which can leak into the groundwater from unlined ash dumps. NTECL was found to also be in violation of the 100 percent flyash utilisation condition, which requires the company to sell or give away flyash to brick-making units or cement plants.

 

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Fishermen protest vast ash pond in mangrove

CHENNAI: Dozens of fishermen came in 20 boats and converged at the site where Tamil Nadu Energy Company Limited, Vallur (NTECL) power plant is setting up a 140-acre coal ash pond in a mangrove area. The ongoing construction also encroaches into the Kuruvimedu Periya Kaalvai, a navigation channel used for transport of salt from salt pans to Buckingham Canal.
“The Kuruvimedu Kaalvai is an important area for fish breeding. Because of the presence of mangroves, this is one part of the creek that is still intact. This construction will affect the natural state of the area gravely,” said Selvaraj, a fisherman from Kaatukuppam.

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Direct Action: Blockade of ongoing destruction of 140 acres of Ennore Creek with rich mangrove patches

எண்ணூர் ஆற்றில் அலையாத்தி காடுகளை அழித்து அரசு ஒத்தொழைப்போட வல்லூர் அனல் மின் நிலையத்தால் சட்டவிரோதமாக கட்டப்படும் சாம்பல் குளத்தை எதிர்த்து  ஆக்கிரமிப்பு  நடக்கும் இடத்தில் சென்று முற்றுகை போராட்டம். 24 ஜனவரி, 2018. காலை 930 மணி. கூடும் இடம்: காட்டுக்குப்பம் படகு துறை. தொடர்பு: சீனிவாசன் 9884280891. எண்ணூர் அணைத்து மீனவ கிராம மக்கள்

Direct Action: Blockade of ongoing destruction of 140 acres of Ennore Creek with rich mangrove patches for illegal expansion of Vallur power plant’s flyash pond. 24 January, 2018. 930 a.m. Gathering Point: Kattukuppam. Boat parking dock, Buckingham Canal bank. By All Ennore Fishing Villagers. Contact: R.L. Srinivasan. 9884280891

Ennore Creek exists: Fisher protests redrawn ‘fake’ map that denies livelihood

The fisher folk called this India’s biggest water scam and said that they would continue protesting until the map is withdrawn.

The fishing community at Ennore Creek formed a human chain on Wednesday to protest against a map drawn by the Department of Environment that depicts the 6,469 acres of wetland area as a petrochemical plant.

Standing in the Kosasthalai River, the protesting men, women and children called it India’s biggest water scam yet.

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In Pictures: Jal Satyagraha in Ennore Creek to Save Ennore Creek

In July 2017, the State Coastal Zone Management Authority claimed that the originally approved CRZ map for Ennore declaring the entire region as a “No Development Zone” was replaced by an “updated” map in which the entire Creek is shown as a petrochemical park. Right to Information responses subsequently exposed this map to be fraudulent with no approval from the Central Government.

Demanding the withdrawal of the fraudulent Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) map denying the existence of the Ennore Creek, hundreds of fishermen, women and children today formed a human chain standing inside the Kosasthalai River holding banners that read “This is River, not Land” (இது ஆறு தான், நிலம் இல்லை) Calling the bid to convert 6500 acres of the Ennore wetlands into industrial real estate India’s biggest water scam, the fisherfolk said their fight to save the Ennore Creek is a fight against corruption in high places and lack of accountability in government. “The “Neer Satyagraham” (Jal Satyagraha) is the first direct action to hold the Government accountable.

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All Photos Courtesy of: Steevez Rodriguez / PEP Collective.

PRESS RELEASE – Ennore Fishers Form Human Chain in Creek Against India’s “Biggest Water Scam”

3 January, 2018. CHENNAI — Demanding the withdrawal of the fraudulent Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) map denying the existence of the Ennore Creek, hundreds of fishermen, women and children today formed a human chain standing inside the Kosasthalai River holding banners that read “This is River, not Land” (இது ஆறு தான், நிலம் இல்லை) Calling the bid to convert 6500 acres of the Ennore wetlands into industrial real estate India’s biggest water scam, the fisherfolk said their fight to save the Ennore Creek is a fight against corruption in high places and lack of accountability in government. “The “Neer Satyagraham” (Jal Satyagraha) is the first of our direct actions to hold the Government accountable. We will escalate our protests if the Government refuses to uphold the law and protect our waterbodies,” said D. Selvaraj, a fisher elder and leader from Kattukuppam.

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Ennore Creek: Made-to-Order High Tide Line

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Public records available with the Save Ennore Creek Campaign raise serious doubts on whether the Institute of Remote Sensing (IRS), Anna University, has altered the High Tide Line in Ennore Creek to accommodate its client, Kamarajar Port’s proposal for a controversial ‘Free Trade Warehouse Zone’ inside the wetland.

The discrepancy in HTL is evident when IRS’ High Tide Line map prepared for TANGEDCO in 2014-15 is compared with what it has prepared this year for its current client, Kamarajar Port, they said. Kamarajar Port’s expansion project, if approved, will  expose more than 10 lakh people to higher risk of disastrous flooding, including more than 2 lakh people in RK Nagar, Ponneri, Madhavaram and Thiruvotriyur constituencies

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Union Environment Ministry Finds TANGEDCO Guilty of Blocking Ennore Backwater with Illegal Road

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3 November, 2017. CHENNAI — An inspection report dated 01/11/2017 submitted by the Regional Office of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Nungambakkam, has confirmed that “M/S TANGEDCO has encroached upon and blocked the backwaters of Ennore Creek beneath the Ennore Highway bridge by establishing a approach road no. 2 of 350 m length and 6 m width for the construction of external coal conveyor system without obtaining the prior approval from MoEF&CC, New Delhi and Tamil Nadu Coastal Zone Management Authority (TNCZMA).” The inspection was conducted based on complaints made by fishermen and social activists.

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Human Chain – Wont be flooded again

The Save Ennore Creek Campaign organized a human chain on 28th October 2017. This was organized to send a message about the perils of encroaching on wetlands to the government , which may result in heavy floods in the upcomming monsoon in many regions of Chennai. The mismanagement of the government lead to this big problem, by allowing the construction of multiple industrial installations (encroachments) in Ennore. This destroyed the rich ecosystem of the creek and endagers the livelihood of many fishing communitys living in this area.

More than 200 people came to the protest to support the Save Ennore Creek campaign. Here are some pictures of the Human Chain:

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Photos and Text : Olaf Pallaske