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Beach beautification under Singara Chennai 2.0 opposed
Pointing out that beaches were livelihood and living spaces for fishermen, 65 social activists raised objections to ‘project blue’, which is proposed under Singara Chennai 2.0, and urged the State government and the Greater Chennai Corporation to protect the interests of fishermen.
In a joint representation to the Chief Minister and Corporation Commissioner, the activists said while the details of ‘project blue’ were not in public domain, similar urban beautification and renewal projects initiated in the past by successive regimes were a cause for worry.
“In the name of river restoration, infrastructure development and beautification, the working poor in the city have been targeted disproportionately, and unnecessary, expensive and poorly planned construction has sought to be constructed on the beach. Chennai’s beaches are not just objects of beauty and recreation, they are first and foremost livelihood and living spaces for the city’s fisherfolk,” the representation pointed out.
Soon after the DMK government came into power, the civic body relaunched Singara Chennai 2.0 project and proposed a slew of initiatives primarily focussing on beautification of the metropolis. Though the project is almost finalised and sent to the government for its approval, the civic body is yet to officially release the details.
Under ‘project blue’, Elliot’s beach, Marina Beach, Neelankarai beach and Tiruvanmiyur beach will undergo beautification. According to official sources in the civic body, detailed project reports are ready for Neelankarai and Tiruvanmiyur beaches. Meanwhile the petition, which is signed by retired High Court judge D Hariparanthaman, Carnatic musician TM Krishna and other activists and experts, implored the civic body to place the livelihood needs of fisherfolk and fish vendors apart from the disaster security of coastal communities as priority.
“During the last few years, efforts were made to evict fish vendors from the Marina Loop Road. At a time when the economy is in the dumps, it is foolhardy to rob the livelihoods of self-employed women fishworkers who contribute to the economy with no assistance from the government. If the government wishes to improve working conditions for the women, it has to be done as per their suggestions and not with the objective of transforming prime vending spaces into exclusive recreational zones,” the representation added.