Ennore Creek goes missing from official map, complain activists

CHENNAI: Two maps given to naturalists following RTI applications are contradictory. While one map, approved by the Government of India, showed the presence of Ennore Creek, spread over 6,569 acres of area in Chennai, the creek was missing in the other one, complained activists.

Coastal Resource Centre founder Nityanand Jayaraman said the first map was given to them after they filed an RTI application in 2009. The map was approved by the government of India in 1996, which showed the creek, a tidal water body protected as ‘No development zone under CRZ1’. However, another RTI filed in this year after a controversy erupted over diversion of Ennore wetlands, the entire creek had gone missing, Nityanand said.

Releasing both the maps at a meeting, members of the Coastal Action Network, Coastal Resource Centre, Save Ennore Creek Campaign and Ennore fisherfolk demanded an independent probe into the functioning of the State Coastal Zone Management Authority. The water body protects Tiruvottiyur, RK Nagar, Madhavaram and Ponneri areas of Chennai from flooding.

Coalition of All Ennore Fishing Villages leader R L Srinivasan said, “The Ennore Creek should be converted into real estate. If it happened, people in North Chennai will end up in a watery grave. If we lose the creek and the mighty Kosasthalayar floods during the next rain, nothing can save this city.”

Documents obtained indicated that the map denying the existence of the Ennore Creek is the falsified one, the activists charged. The 2017 RTI response includes a 1997 letter from the ministry of environment and forests responding to request for certain changes proposed to be made by the state government to accommodate the setting up of a petrochemical park in Ennore, they said.

Coastal Resource Center member K Saravanan said: “We believe the 1996 map, declaring the entire creek as CRZ 1 is the correct one as it is consistent with law and reality. The Naval Hydrographer, a scientific body, could not have ignored the existence of such a large tidal water body.”

Two separate complaints have been filed with the state information commission seeking a probe into the matter.

This article was originally published in the Times of India on 22/07/2017. It can be accessed here.

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