Ennore Creek: Made-to-Order High Tide Line

Featured

DOWNLOAD MEDIA KIT HERE

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

The Campaign claimed that State, Centre and scientific bodies are colluding to push KPL’s proposal to harm Ennore Creek. On 29-30 November, KPL’s proposal comes up for reconsideration at the Expert Appraisal Committee (Infra-2), Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. Despite a direction by the Chairman of the EAC to conduct a site visit and enquire into allegations against KPL, the EAC is going ahead with considering the proposal.

Even while people are complaining about sea level rise and the westward incursion of the sea, IRS Anna University’s map for Kamarajar Port makes it appear that the HTL has receded freeing up about 250 metres as real estate in this area. The 2015 NCTPS map shows two canals, measuring 400 meters and 190 meters running through the area demarcated for the construction of a ‘Free Trade Warehouse Zone’. However, the 2017 KPL map presents the two canals measuring just 160 meters and 113 meters respectively.

A 1996 Government of India approved Coastal Zone Management Plan declares KPL’s proposed project area as a ‘No Development Zone.’ Save Ennore Creek campaign said that the current case demonstrates what happens when science, rule of law and common sense die at the same time.

For more information, contact: Pooja Kumar 9791122180

 

Advertisements

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

Featured

DOWNLOAD MEDIA KIT HERE

Displaying IMG_0746.JPG

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.

The Regional Office also reported that: “Approach road no. 2 clearly obstructs the natural flow of water within the Ennore Creek which may perhaps cause flood vulnerability in that area. Livelihood of communities in the surrounding Ennore Creek who directly depend on fishing activity may also be affected.” This matter was brought to the notice of the TNCZMA in June 2017 when fisherfolk and city environmentalists warned that the illegal road would create a dangerous situation as it prevented the drainage of Kosasthalai’s waters into sea.

Ennore fisherfolk said they were very disappointed with the district administration’s failure to remove encroachments in Ennore Creek. “After actor Kamal visited this place, the District Collector and PWD promised to remove encroachments. They have done nothing, and now we are sitting on a dangerous situation. If the authorities don’t remove it, we will have to do it ourselves,” said P. Mahendran, a fisherman from Kattukuppam.

“In 2015, we took 100 boats and rescued 30,000 people from north Chennai. We are prepared to help again if the need arises. But the Government should not make a bad situation worse by tolerating such blatant encroachments,” said R. L. Srinivasan, another fisher leader from Ennore.

For more information, contact: R.L. Srinivasan — 9884280891; Nityanand Jayaraman 9444082401

 

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:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photos and Text : Olaf Pallaske

History of Struggles in the Ennore Creek Area

 

1993 – 94 – Agitation against North Chennai Thermal Power Station’s Coolant Water Outfall into the Ennore Creek.

1996 – Agitation against sewage and medical waste being diverted into the Ennore Creek through the Buckingham Canal.

1996 – Case filed by the South India Salt Manufactures against indiscriminate dumping of fly ash in salt pans – HC ordered for immediate halt on fly ash disposal, cleanup and regular maintenance and monitoring of fly ash disposal plan

1996-1997 – Fisherfolk, citizen groups protest against Petrochemical Park proposed by TIDCO in Ennore Region. Group of landowners Challenged in Madras High court, petrochemical project dropped.

2007 – Agitation against blockage of river for construction of coal yard and Conveyor Bridge across the Ennore Creek by Kamarajar Port.

2008 – 2009 – Construction of Conveyer belt for Vallur Thermal Power Station, protests against right of way under bridge and piling removal. NTECL Vallur thermal station and coal yard built inside Creek.

2010 – Hindustan Petroleum Corporation builds oil storage terminal on Ennore Creek

August 2015 – Kamarajar Port begins dumping mud on CRZ areas of the Ennore Creek for building ancillary facilities

December 2015 – Areas in North Chennai from Athipattu, Vallur, Naapalayam, Kondakarai, Burma Nagar, Manali New Town, Manali, Vyasarpadi, Kodungaiyur, Korukkupet, Ernavur, RK Nagar and Thiruvotriyur heavily flooded due to above encroachments in Ennore Creek.

April 2016 – Kamarajar Port begins dumping again for construction of truck parking terminal, protests and work is stopped again

December 2016 – Fishermen move NGT asking for removal of dredged material and fly ash from river

2016 – Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited starts construction of Oil Storage Terminal

December 2016 – NGT orders Kamarajar Port to remove dredged material dumped on the river

May 2017 – A 1996 Government of India-approved Coastal Zone map that had disappeared from all government files unearthed. The map identified all of Ennore Creek as protected No Development Zone. 1000 acres of Creek lost to industrial encroachments. As per map, all industrial installations belonging to Kamarajar Port, TANGEDCO, NTECL Vallur, HPCL and BPCL were illegal. Fisherfolk and environmentalists ask Government to take action against violations, and deny permission for any future diversion of wetlands.

June 2017 – Removed dredged material dumped by Kamarajar Port on protected wetlands of the Ennore Creek in a different area; originally dumped material not removed satisfactorily

June 2017 – Kamarajar Port approaches State Coastal Zone Management Authority (SCZMA) and Government of Tamil Nadu for permission to build car parking terminals, coal yards and warehouse zones inside Kosasthalaiyar’s Ennore Creek.

June 2017 – Fisherfolk and environmentalists urge to follow the law and deny permission as GoI-approved map declares Ennore Creek as No Development Zone.

July 2017 – SCZMA and Govt of Tamil Nadu recommend clearance for Kamarajar Port claiming that the 1996 Government of India-approved map was replaced by an updated map. The updated map denies the existence of the Ennore Creek and shows all of it as land.

September – October 2017 – Citizens write to Expert Appraisal Committee, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change where the proposal is pending clearance highlighting irregularities and alleging use of fraudulent map. Chairman, EAC directs EAC to conduct a site visit. Recommendation for clearance withheld pending further enquiry.

October 2017 – Kamarajar Port begins construction of coal yard and other facilities by dumping dredged material in Ennore Creek, even before the EAC and MoEF can take a view on the matter.

Compiled by: The Coastal Resource Centre, a project of The Other Media.

 

 

We Won’t Get Flooded Again நாங்கள் மீண்டும் மூழ்க மாட்டோம்

SIGN PETITION HERE 

இங்கே மனு கையெழுத்திடுங்கள்

Ten Lakh Chennai residents are at higher risk of disastrous flooding because Government of Tamil Nadu has allowed Kamarajar Port to convert 1000 acres of Ennore wetlands into industrial real estate. Chennai has barely recovered from the 2015 floods. Don’t let Chennai get flooded again. Tell the Government to stop encroaching on the Ennore wetlands. 

தமிழ்நாடு அரசு எண்ணூர் ஆற்றில் 1000 ஏக்கர் ஆக்கிரமிப்புக்கு அனுமதி கொடுத்தால்
10 லட்சம் சென்னை குடிவாசிகள் வெள்ளததில் முழுகும் அபாய நிலையில் உள்ளனர். 2015 அம் ஆண்டில் ஏற்பட்ட வெள்ளத்தில்லிருந்து சென்னை மீளவில்லை. சென்னையில் மீண்டும் வெள்ளம் வர அனுமதிக்காதீர். அரசாங்கத்திடம் எண்ணூர் ஆற்றில் நடந்து வரும் ஆக்கிரமிப்பை நிறுத்த சொல்

Continue reading

Tamil Nadu govt’s plan may ‘free up wetlands for realty sector’

Is the state government rushing up the Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) to regularize Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) violators?

A Right to Information (RTI) response received by the Coastal Resource Centre reveals that the Government of Tamil Nadu, which delayed the preparation of the state Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP), is now attempting to rush through it, which would free up coastal wetlands for real estate.

A new plan, mandated under the CRZ 2011 was to be completed by 2013 by the addition of Land Use Plans (LUP) of coastal communities, Uniform High Tide Line and Low Tide Line for India’s coast and mapping violations of the plans approved in 1996. Six years hence, all of this remains to be completed.

The response, which contained minutes of a high-level meeting, chaired by Environment Secretary on July 6, 2017, notes that the draft CZMP will be uploaded for public consultation by August 15, 2017, a press release from Coastal Resource Centre said.

The Directorate of Environment is required to work with National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Zone Management (NCSCM) to incorporate public comments by end September and conduct public consultations in all coastal districts by October 31 this year.

The finalised CZMPs are to be processed within a month and sent by the state government to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change by December end this year.

“In April, 2017, CRC had released a report that used three case studies to highlight how NCSCM’s flawed High Tide Line (HTL) demarcation had wrongly identified 900 acres of coastal wetland as land. The same report also highlighted how NCSCM’s HTL effectively regularised encroachments built inside the HTL of coastal water bodies,” the release added.

Ironically, the Directorate of Environment has not identified a single violation till date. Violations identified and reported by citizens have been condoned or complaints ignored, said Pooja Kumar of the Coastal Resource Centre
Between the flawed HTL and the failure to identify offenders encroaching inside water bodies, the entire exercise of drawing up a fresh CZMP will convert an environmental protection regulation into a bonanza for real estate and a disaster for coastal residents.

The original article appeared in Deccan Chronicle on 17th August 2017 – Read it here

State Keen on CZMP by end of year; Activists See Red

Finally, after six years of delay, the State government is pushing hard to frame a Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP), which is vital in protecting ecologically sensitive areas and keeping encroachers at bay. But activists say this can be achieved only if CZMP is prepared following sound scientific principles.

Environmental activists claim that the haste shown by the government in having a CZMP is rather suspicious. A Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification of 2011 requires all coastal states to identify and act against CRZ violations, and prepare CZMPs. In July 2011, the Directorate of Environment, entrusted with finalising the CZMP, had resolved to identify and publicly report violations, and take action against them. However, till date, not one violation has been identified. Violations identified and reported by citizens have been condoned or complaints ignored, said Pooja Kumar of Coastal Resource Centre, a city-based NGO advocating environment protection.

A CZMP prepared without identifying the current coastal violations will only regularise CRZ violations and free up coastal wetlands for real estate, the activists fear. As per the minutes of a high-level meeting chaired by the Environment Secretary on July 6, the draft CZMP was supposed to be uploaded for public consultation by August 15, but it has not been done yet.

The Directorate of Environment is required to work with National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Zone Management (NCSCM) to incorporate public comments by September end and conduct public consultations in all coastal districts by October 31. The finalised CZMPs are to be processed within a month and sent by the state government to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change by December 31.

In April, Express had published an exhaustive report on how NCSCM got its High Tide Line demarcation wrong and opened up several wetlands for real estate exploitation. Amidst this, the Union environment ministry has extended the validity of the 1996 Government of India-approved state CZMP till July 2018.

The original story appeared in The New Indian Express on 17th August 2017 – Read it here 

RTI Response reveals TN Government is Hastening the Preparation of CZMPs – Is that the solution to protect environment and fisherfolk?

Download Media Kit Here

Chennai – An RTI response received by the Coastal Resource Centre reveals that the Government of Tamil Nadu, after delaying the preparation of a statutory state Coastal Zone Management Plan, is now attempting to rush through a CZMP that activists fear will regularise CRZ violations and free up coastal wetlands for real estate. The response, which contained minutes of a high-level meeting chaired by Environment Secretary on 6 July, 2017, notes that the draft CZMP will be uploaded for public consultation by 15 August, 2017. The Directorate of Environment is required to work with National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Zone Management (NCSCM) to incorporate public comments by end September and conduct public consultations in all coastal districts by 31.10.2017.  The finalised CZMPs are to be processed within a month and sent by the state government to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change by 31.12.2017.

A new plan, mandated under the CRZ 2011 was to be completed by 2013 by the addition of Land Use Plans (LUP) of coastal communities, Uniform High Tide Line and Low Tide Line for India’s coast and mapping violations of the plans approved in 1996. Six years hence, all of this remains to be completed.

In April, 2017, the CRC had released a report that used three case studies to highlight how NCSCM’s flawed High Tide Line (HTL) demarcation had wrongly identified 900 acres of coastal wetland as land. The same report also highlighted how NCSCM’s HTL effectively regularised encroachments built inside the HTL of coastal waterbodies.

CRZ Notification 2011 requires all coastal states to identify and act against CRZ violations, and prepare CZMPs. In July 2011, the Directorate of Environment, which is entrusted with finalising the CZMP, had resolved to identify and publicly report violations, and take action against them. However, till date, not one violation has been identified. Violations identified and reported by citizens have been condoned or complaints ignored.

Between the flawed HTL and the failure to identify offenders encroaching inside water bodies, the entire exercise of drawing up a fresh CZMP will convert an environmental protection regulation into a bonanza for real estate and a disaster for coastal residents.

On 31st July 2017, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change extended the validity of the 1996 Government of India-approved state CZMP for the sixth time since the introduction of the CRZ Notification 2011. All states have to have approved CZMPs by July 2018. A copy of the Notification is below.

If the Tamil Nadu government is serious about protecting the environment and fisherfolk, it should first identify structures built in violation of the 1996 approved CZMP, redraw the HTL with careful ground-truthing and prepare a map that clearly identifies fisher’s land and ocean-use and areas reserved for long-term housing for fishers.

For more information, contact: Pooja Kumar – 9791122180; K. Saravanan – 9176331717; Nityanand Jayaraman — 9444082401 

 

Time to change course

Chennai city will have no future if plans to fill the Ennore creek go ahead

ennoreblogimage2

Since December 2015, Chennai has limped from one extreme weather-related shock to another — the floods, the failed monsoon of 2016, Cyclone Vardah, and now the water crisis. Chennai’s defining element is water. But the city shows scant regard for this precious but dangerous resource. Located squarely in the intervening floodplains of three rivers on a high-energy coastline, Chennai is a disaster-prone location. Any badly located city can be vulnerable merely by virtue of its location. But only a special kind of city — a city with a death wish — actively makes a bad situation worse.

Nothing speaks more elegantly to Chennai’s death wish than what governments are doing to the wetlands in North Chennai. In June, the State government conceded the Government of India-owned Kamarajar Port Ltd’s (KPL) request to divert 1,000 acres of the hydrologically sensitive Ennore wetlands for industrial installations that are best built on dry land. The proposal is pending Central government clearance. If permitted, KPL’s dream will turn out to be Chennai’s worst nightmare, far worse than the 2015 floods.

The importance of Ennore

Ennore Creek, a sprawling 8,000-acre tidal waterbody, is a place where climate change and disastrous land-use change converge. Two rivers with a total catchment of 5,000 sq km empty into the Ennore Creek.

This wetland’s importance may not be apparent. Much of the creek looks dry year-round, when visible waterspread is only 1,000 acres. But when cyclonic weather pushes the sea surging landwards, or when rainwaters from the two rivers come rushing to meet the sea, the waterspread in the creek swells to its majestic fullness. Come rain or storm surge, the availability of room for the rain or sea water to stay is what keeps the city from going under.

The creek offers another protection too. It buffers the rich aquifers of the Araniyar-Kosasthalaiyar Basin from the sea, and keeps salt water from invading groundwater resources that supply several hundred million litres daily to Chennai even during the worst droughts.

In 1996, the Tamil Nadu government protected a 6,500-acre stretch of the tidal waterbody under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification. But greed prevailed over good sense. More than 1,000 acres of the creek were lost to illegal encroachments that rise like dams across a river.

The offending installations block the path of rainwaters rushing down the Arani river and the mighty Kosasthalaiyar. Areas that never got flooded saw waters enter homes and remain for more than a fortnight in 2015. Tamil Nadu’s lifeline, the Manali petroleum refinery, went under water for days.

Continue reading

Did TN coastal management body conspire to divert land from Ennore creek to Kamarajar Port?

RTI queries have revealed that the coastal management body had used a fraudulent Coastal Regulation Zone map to facilitate KPL’s proposal

iagefoblog

A conspiracy is underfoot to divert land from the Ennore Creek for the expansion of the Kamarajar Port, environment activists have alleged.

On June 22 the  Tamil Nadu State Coastal Zone Management Authority (TNSCZMA) had cleared Kamarajar Port Ltd’s (KPL) proposal for diverting 1,000 acres of land to construct car parking terminals, warehouse zones and a coal yard within the Creek. This was done despite opposition from environmental groups, which highlighted the dangers of flooding due to encroachments on the Creek.

Now, RTI queries have revealed that the coastal management body had used a fraudulent Coastal Regulation Zone map to facilitate KPL’s proposal to divert the land from Ennore Creek. The discrepancy in the maps was revealed after receiving two RTI replies given by the Department of Environment.

The original 1996 map, obtained under RTI by Jesu Rathinam of Coastal Action Network, showed the 6,500 acre Ennore Creek as CRZ 1 – a protected tidal waterbody. The authority had allegedly failed to use the 1996 Government of India-approved CRZ map for evaluating proposals in Ennore Creek, had instead furnished a CRZ map said to be revised and approved by Government of India in 1997.

However, the latter map denied the existence of the Creek.

According to Jesu Rathinam, in the first RTI reply, a map provided by the Department of Environment showed 6,469 acres of the Creek to be a tidal waterbody protected as a No Development Zone under CRZ-I regulations.

Environmentalists fear that using the falsified map that denies the existence of the Creek could lead to the development of real estate on the creek.

“The map obtained by CAN covers a stretch of 16 km and is consistent with the Coastal Zone Management Plan that identifies Sheet 2, Tiruvallur district, showing a coastal stretch of 16 km. But the map given to the 2017 RTI covers only 13 km, and makes it look like there is no creek in the map area,” environmentalist Nityanand Jayaraman said at a press conference.

While the coastal management body has defended the use of the ‘new’ map, referring to a letter in 1997 where the Government of India had permitted Government of Tamil Nadu to revise the boundaries of Ennore Creek based on a survey by the Naval Hydrographer, the RTI response has refuted this claim.

Continue reading