Authorities told to remove materials dumped into Ennore creek immediately
The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board has initiated action against the Kamarajar port for dumping dredged materials into the Ennore creek in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) laws.
In a letter dated June 23, the District Environmental Engineer of the TNPCB D. Vasudevan has said that based on complaints, the officials undertook an inspection of the site on June 17 and 19 and found that dredged material from the Kamarajar port was dumped into the creek, the CRZ area, in violation of the 2011 law. The board has instructed the port authorities in Ponneri taluk, Tiruvallur district to remove the dumped materials immediately.
In May, K. Saravanan of the Coastal Resource Centre had written to the TNPCB pointing out that the ongoing violation by port authorities included transport of dredged material through heavy vehicles in CRZ areas and dumping of the mud to form a large bund. He further highlighted that forming bunds, reclamation and disturbing the natural state of the waterbody were non-permissible activities. He also referred to the Kamarajar Port Limited (KPL) as a repeat offender who had already been instructed to refrain from dumping dredged material in CRZ areas earlier. A case regarding the port’s illegal dumping is pending in the National Green Tribunal.
Environmental activist Nityanand Jayaraman, who has been part of a campaign to save the Ennore creek, welcomed the action. In a note shared with the press, he said that the port authorities were attempting to convert 280 acres of the Ennore Creek’s tidal wetland into a coal stacking yard.
“KPL’s master plan document reveals that the new coal yard is part of a plan to convert 1,300 acres of the Creek into industrial real estate. In 2015, KPL began dumping dredged material on mangroves in a bid to reclaim the waterbody for an office complex,” he says.
A proposal by KPL seeking permission to divert an additional 1,300 acres is pending approval with the State Coastal Zone Management Authority. The Ennore Creek is vital for Chennai’s flood and water security.
The legal officer of the Kamarajar port told The Hindu that an NGT order in December, 2016 had instructed the port authorities to remove dredged materials dumped on the creek and that they had complied with the requirements already. He said that only the National Thermal Power Corporation had been sent a show cause notice for dumping waste on the creek, not the port.
This article appeared in The Hindu on 5th July 2017 and can be accessed here.