Notching yet another victory against illegal industrial encroachments in Ennore Creek, the region’s fisherfolk welcomed Kamarajar Port Ltd’s (KPL) Rs. 1.36 crore tender for removal of dredged sand that was dumped on salt pans to convert the wetlands into real estate. Saltpans are protected wetlands under Coastal Regulation Zone Notification and the National Wetland Rules, 2010. KPL is in possession of 637.7 acres of saltpan lands that was transferred from the Central Salt Department in March 2015.
Highlighting the illegallity of KPL’s dumping, the Ennore Anaithu Meenava Grama Koottamaippu (Ennore All Fisher Village Coalition) and Chennai-based Coastal Resource Centre, halted the activity last August 2015. In October 2016, KPL once again resumed its dumping only to be stopped by the Thiruvallur sub-collector, who was inspecting the removal of such encroachments along with fisher representatives and city-based environmentalists.
For the first time in the 25 years that they have been fighting for the creek against industrial encroachment and pollution, the Government has acted to protect these wetlands, fisherfolk said. “What the TNPCB and state Coastal Zone Management Authority refused to do, the Thiruvallur district administration and the State Relief Commissioner are doing by getting polluters to remove their encroachments. We are thankful,” said Mugatwarakuppam’s A. Venkatesh, who is also a member of the Meenava Grama Kootamaippu. According to the CRZ Clearance granted in March 2015 to KPL’s Coal Berths 3 & 4, KPL is required to dispose of dredged material within the port premises and not outside on salt lands.
“Now that salt production is suspended, the salt pans should be maintained as wetlands. This will provide flood protection for the region, and enhance the fish productivity of the creek,” said R.L. Srinivasan, who is president of Kaattukuppam Fisher Cooperative Society and a member of the Meenava Grama Koottamaippu.
“The real challenge now is overseeing the removal of the dumped material, and ensuring that it is disposed of properly,” said Pooja Kumar of Coastal Resource Centre. The fisher coalition has requested the district administration to constitute a committee with local participation to oversee remediation of the creek.
For More Information Contact:
R. L Srinivasan, Ennore Anaithu Minava Grama Kootamaipu – 9884280891
Pooja Kumar – The Coastal Resource Centre – 9791122180