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Personally check Marina upkeep, HC to Corpn, city police chiefs
Taking stock of the encroachments that had returned to Marina beach and their subsequent removal following media reports, the Madras High Court expressed concern over Marina and Besant Nagar beaches failing to figure among the ones that were granted the ‘Blue Flag’ certification, an international tag awarded to clean, safe and environment-friendly beaches.
A division bench comprising Justice Vineet Kothari and Justice MS Ramesh made this observation on Tuesday while hearing a plea relating to Marina beautification, which it had taken suo motu cognisance.The bench directed Greater Chennai Corporation Commissioner G Prakash and city police Commissioner Mahesh Kumar Aggarwal, who were present during the virtual hearing, to take a walk along the beach after the lockdown ended so that they could verify for themselves on the upkeep of the beach.
Stating that he was willing to do it himself – and also invited his brother judge – Justice Kothari pointed out that the issue of beautifying Marina, undoubtedly one of the best beaches in the world, was not an adversarial litigation but taken up on larger public interest and usher in such standards that would enable it obtain Blue Flag certification. He also sought for a joint, concerted effort from both the civic body and police in beautifying Marina by utilising all resources available for this purpose.
On encroachments at Marina beach, Commissioner Prakash submitted that 65 of them were removed from loop road. It would be ensured that such encroachments did not come up again by proper patrolling, he said. Efforts were on to establish a fish vending complex to shift vendors from loop road. The land conversion process for setting up the market was awaited, he said. The fishermen have realised the gravity of the situation and are coming to terms with shifting to the new complex after resolving some difference of opinion among themselves.
The bench said it could summon the Commissioner of Land Administration if the conversion was not done expeditiously, and posted the plea to November 11 to enable fixing the outer time limit for the proposal going on stream, especially with the pathways in loop road being cleared of encroachments, even if it meant using mild force to remove those unwilling to move. To a query Justice Kothari raised on beach reopening, Prakash said it was being discussed at the highest level. The bench then reiterated that with the resumption of normal life and everything being opened, beach alone cannot be an exception.