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.
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.
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.
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.