Map not modified: environment dept.

Says it did not go to Chief Hydrographer for demarcation of backwater areas on map

The controversy over two maps – one showing the existence of the Ennore Creek and another without the creek – just got murkier with the department of environment saying that the State had not approached the Chief Hydrographer to demarcate the backwater areas.

In reply to an Right To Information petition by the Coastal Resource Centre, the department on environment also said no modification was done on the map even though the Tamil Nadu government in 1997 sought certain modifications to the map approved in 1996.

“As The Ministry of Environment & Forests has not modified in Sheet-2, the question of changes made in the sheet has not arisen,” the department further said, raising doubts as to how Sheet-2 was changed to reflect no creek in the area.

According to Pooja Kumar of the Coastal Resource Centre, the Tamil Nadu State Coastal Zone Management Authority (TNSCZMA) used a fraudulent CRZ map to facilitate a proposal by the Kamarajar Port Ltd to divert 1,000 acres of the Ennore Creek.

An official of the Tamil Nadu State Coastal Zone Management Authority (India) told The Hindu the maps at that time were created by the Department of Town and Country Planning. “They sent it to the government of India and got the approvals. The maps provided in the RTI replies are the same maps. These are also on our website,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

 

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‘Illegal map used to clear port plan in Ennore creek’

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu State Coastal Zone Management Authority (TNSCZMA) has used a fraudulent CRZ map to facilitate industrial activity in Ennore creek, allege activists.
“Using this map, the TNSCZMA has diverted around 1,000 acres in the creek to facilitate a proposal by Kamarajar Port Ltd,” said Pooja Kumar from Coastal Resource Centre, referring to RTI responses received from the Department of Environment, Tamil Nadu, and the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, New Delhi on June 22.

On the allegation of using the wrong map, the member secretary, TNSCZMA, H Malleshappa said through the RTI response that he had furnished a map that was ‘revised and approved by Government of India in 1997.’Malleshappa’s response referred to a letter in 1997, in which the Government of India had permitted the TN government to revise the boundaries of Ennore creek, based on a survey by the Naval Hydrographer. He was, however, unavailable for comments despite repeated calls.

A subsequent RTI response from the Department of Environment dated July 20, however, exposed that the Department did not approach the Chief Hydrographer to demarcate the backwater areas. “In 1997, the Department of Environment did not approach the Chief Hydrographer to demarcate the backwater areas,” the response said. Further it revealed that subsequent to the letter dated 30.9.1997, no modification has been done.

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Ennore Creek falls off map, activists cry foul

Does the Ennore Creek exist or not? As per two RTI replies given by the Department of Environment, it exists and it doesn’t exist.

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

In response to another RTI this year, another official map shows that the entire Ennore Creek has disappeared.

The Coastal Action Network (CAN), the Coastal Resource Centre, the Save Ennore Creek Campaign and Ennore fisherfolk groups want an independent investigation into the functioning of the State Coastal Zone Management Authority and the Environment and Forests Department.

Environment activist Nityanand Jayaraman said as per the map given that now, more than 6,000 acres of the creek will vanish.

 

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RTI nails Fraud by CRZ Regulator Illegal CRZ map used to Clear Kamarajar Port Proposal in Ennore Creek

 

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24 July, 2017. CHENNAI — The Tamil Nadu State Coastal Zone Management Authority (TNSCZMA) used a fraudulent CRZ map to facilitate Kamarajar Port Ltd’s proposal to divert 1000 acres of the Ennore Creek, according to RTI responses received from the Department of Environment, Tamil Nadu, and the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, New Delhi. On June 22, 2017, the SCZMA cleared KPL’s proposal for diverting 1000 acres to construct car parking terminals, warehouse zones and a coal yard within the Creek, despite representations to the highlighting the dangerous flooding that will result from such illegal encroachment.

Defending allegations that the Authority had failed to use the 1996 Government of India-approved CRZ map for evaluating proposals in Ennore Creek, Member Secretary, TNSCZMA Dr. H. Malleshappa had furnished a CRZ map purporting to have been “revised and approved by [Government of India] in 1997.” Where the original 1996 map (obtained under RTI by Jesu Rathinam of Coastal Action Network) showed the 6500 acre Ennore Creek as CRZ 1 — a protected tidal waterbody, the latter map denied the existence of the Creek. The latter map was also given in response to a representation that KPL’s proposal should be denied as it fell afoul of the 1996 CRZ map.

Dr. Malleshappa’s response referred 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.

Shocked by the denial of the Creek’s existence, CRC had requested to know the basis of revisions made to the 1996 map, specifically the Hydrographer’s survey to redefine the creek’s boundaries.

In response to CRC’s RTI request, the Department of Environment in a letter dated 20.7.2017 has revealed that “In 1997, the Department of Environment has not approached the Chief Hydrographer to demarcate the backwater areas,” and that “Subsequent to letter dated 30.9.1997, no modification has been done.” The RTI revealed that Dr. Malleshappa’s claim that the 1997 map had replaced the 1996 map showing the Creek as a protected zone was false.

“This is high-level fraud with clear intent to violate both the environmental laws and the Right to Information Act. More dangerously, the illegal approvals given for encroachments within the Creek by the SCZMA puts nearly 1 million people at risk due to disastrous flooding,” said Nityanand Jayaraman of Save Ennore Creek campaign. The campaign will pursue criminal prosecution of the officials involved in the fraud.

The matter has been brought to the notice of Environment Secretary, the Chief Secretary and the State Disaster Management Authority. “We would like to believe that these senior administrators would not knowingly violate the law or put communities at risk. But for us to continue believing so, the Government must withdraw the approval given to KPL, act against all existing encroachments and declare Ennore Creek off-limits for industrial installations,” said Pooja Kumar, Coastal Resource Centre.

Already 1090 acres of the 6500 acre creek has been encroached upon. An additional 300 acres has been degraded by flyash discharged from North Chennai Thermal Power Station. As we speak, NTECL Vallur is dumping mud on mangroves to expand its flyash pond.

The existing encroachments caused serious flooding in Manali, Ernavur, RK Nagar, Athipattu and Ponneri during the 2015 floods. Since the floods, KPL has encroached on an additional 400 acres of the Creek. If the rains are heavy this monsoon, the flooding in North Chennai, Manali and Ponneri will be disastrous.

Alleging that similar fraud has been committed throughout Tamil Nadu’s coast, Jesu Rathinam of Coastal Action Network said “This fraud by SCZMA calls for a thorough and independent enquiry into the violations of CRZ Notification using the 1996 map as the baseline.”

For more information, contact: Nityanand Jayaraman, Save Ennore Creek campaign: 9444082401; Pooja Kumar, Coastal Resource Centre: 9791122180.

Blog: storyofennore.wordpress.com

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.

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Ennore creek erased from govt map, allege activists

CHENNAI: Two maps of the city given to environment activists based on RTI applications appear contradictory. The first, approved by the Centre in 1996, showed the presence of Ennore creek, spread over 6,569 acres, while the second does not have the creek at all.

Coastal Resource Centre founder Nityanand Jayaraman said it was the surprising that the creek, shown as a water body protected as a ‘no development zone’ under CRZ1 in the map presented after an RTI application filed in 2009, was completely missing in the map given after an application filed this year following a controversy over diversion of the Ennore wetlands.

Releasing both maps at a meeting here on Friday, 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 creek, they said, protected Thiruvottiyur, RK Nagar, Madhavaram and Ponneri areas from flooding.

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Ennore Creek falls off map, activists cry foul

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Contradictory claims:Two RTI queries have yielded different responses on the existence of the Ennore Creek.R_Ragu | Photo Credit: R. Ragu

Say it would pave the way for takeover by realtors

Does the Ennore Creek exist or not? As per two RTI replies given by the Department of Environment, it exists and it doesn’t exist.

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

In response to another RTI this year, another official map shows that the entire Ennore Creek has disappeared.

The Coastal Action Network (CAN), the Coastal Resource Centre, the Save Ennore Creek Campaign and Ennore fisherfolk groups want an independent investigation into the functioning of the State Coastal Zone Management Authority and the Environment and Forests Department.

Environment activist Nityanand Jayaraman said as per the map given that now, more than 6,000 acres of the creek will vanish.

 

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Ennore Creek is ‘Petrochemical Park’ in new CRZ map

CHENNAI: The new Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) map of Tiruvallur district has marked the 6,400-acre Ennore Creek as “Petrochemical Industrial Park”. Activists fear this is a backdoor attempt to industrialise the creek, an ecologically sensitive area where the Kosasthalaiyar River meets the sea.

The new map was accessed through the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Despite it being the most important document that to would regulate the development along the coastal area, there was no mention of when the map was prepared and by whom.
The new map is in sharp contrast to the 1996 map, which shows the 6,469 acres of Ennore Creek to be a tidal water body and protected as No Development Zone under CRZ-1.

Sharing the documents at the press meet on Friday, members of Coastal Action Network (CAN), Coastal Resource Centre, Save Ennore Creek Campaign and All Ennore Fishing Villages (AEFV) coalition demanded an independent probe into the working of the State Coastal Zone Management Authority and the Department of Environment.

Jesu Rathinam of CAN said she got the copy of the 1996 map in 2009 after struggling for three years. “Also, the map obtained by us covers a stretch of 16 km, while the latest map covers only 13 km and makes it seem as if there is no Creek in the map area,” she said.

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RTI reveals Chennai’s largest estuary Ennore Creek missing in the latest CRZ map

A 1996 CRZ map obtained by Jesu Rathinam of Coastal Action Network under RTI in 2009 from the Department of Environment shows 6,469 acres of Ennore Creek to be a tidal water body protected as ‘No Development Zone’ under CRZ 1.

Two widely conflicting maps of the Chennai’s largest estuary Ennore Creek, both of which were presented as Government of India-approved Coastal Regulatory Zone maps in two separate RTIs, have exposed serious irregularities and possible fraud in the functioning of the State Department of Environment.

A 1996 CRZ map obtained by Jesu Rathinam of Coastal Action Network under RTI in 2009 from the Department of Environment shows 6,469 acres of Ennore Creek to be a tidal water body protected as ‘No Development Zone’ under CRZ 1. However, the entire Ennore Creek has disappeared in the latest map received in response to a RTI petition in 2017 after controversy erupted over diversion of Ennore wetlands.

“Since both maps have been obtained under RTI, the Department of Environment has falsified information in one of the two cases. That is a punishable offence under the RTI Act,” said Jesu Rathinam, Convenor of the Coastal Action Network.

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How can Ennore Creek go missing in map?

Reply from the department of environment denies the existence of the Ennore creek.
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Activists examine the map showing Ennore creek at Chennai Press Club on Friday. (Photo: DC)

Chennai: When the environmental activists are crying foul over the exploitation of Ennore creek, a new revelation brought out through the Right to Information reveals shocking facts.  While the government approved map obtained through RTI by Jesu Rathinam of Coastal Action Network (CAN) in 1996 shows 6,469 acres of the Ennore creek as a No-Development Zone under CRZ-1, another reply from the department of environment denies the existence of the Ennore creek.

Pooja Kumar of Coastal Resource Centre (CRC), said, “The map that we (CRC) acquired through RTI in 2017 covers only 13 km and the entire Ennore creek had disappeared. But the map obtained by Coastal Action Network covers a stretch of 16 km and is consistent with the Coastal Zone Management Plan that identifies Sheet 2, Tiruvallur district.” Condemning the offence, Jesu Rathinam of CAN said, “Since both maps have been obtained under the RTI, the department of environment has falsified the information in one of the two cases. This is a punishable offence.”

The fishermen from Ennore and the environmentalists from CAN, CRC and Save Ennore Campaign on Friday demanded an independent probe into the functioning of the State Coastal Zone Management Authority and the department of environment. Environmentalist Nityanand Jayaraman said, “There should be one map, but there are two maps which are government-approved. While one is legitimate, the other one is clearly a lie. Two different complaints have been filed before Information Commission and State Disaster Management Authority.”

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