The move has angered the fisherfolk of Ennore, who have lost livelihoods due to increased industrialisation, and local activists.
A proposal by the Kamarajar Port to convert more than a thousand acres of wetlands of Ennore Creek into industrial estate had triggered large-scale protests by the residents and fisherfolk community, who have been badly hit by the pollution caused by industries.
However, the minutes of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) meeting which took place on May 29 and 30, had recommended Kamarajar Port’s expansion for environmental and CRZ clearance, shocking the local community, who were a part of the EAC’s visit to Ennore.
In January this year, a two-member sub-committee of the EAC inspected Ennore and submitted a report (which is still under wraps), based on which the recommendation for the controversial project was made.
In addition, the minutes of the meeting stated that, “The sub-committee has considered the latest draft Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) of Tamil Nadu Coastal Zone Management Authority (TNCZMA) for preparation of the report since there is a substantial change in the coastal ecosystem.”
City-based researcher Pooja Kumar from the Coastal Resource Centre (CRC) said that the recommendation was based on an “unapproved and illegal map”.
“The draft CZMP prepared by National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) faced stiff opposition during the public consultation and has not yet been approved by MoEF&CC. Instead of using the approved 1996 CZMP, according to CRZ Notifications, 2011, the recommendation has been given based on an “illegal” map. The EAC has even failed to mention that their recommendation is subject to the outcome of a case (W.P. No. 7019 of 2018) challenging the draft NCSCM maps in the Madras High Court,” said the researcher.