CHENNAI: Even as the TN Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has scheduled a public hearing on the construction of a pen-shaped monument as a part of Kalaignar Karunanithi memorial on Jan 31, fishermen near Marina Beach oppose it fearing loss of livelihood and coastal environment.
K Bharathi, president of South India Fishermen Welfare Association, said that the construction of the monument offshore will damage naturally occurring muddy surface (kadavaadu) under the sea.
“If the kadavaadu is damaged, it’d reduce fish production. As the site is close to the mouth of the Cooum River, the monument will affect prawn production. This will impact the livelihood of local fishermen,” he added.
Meanwhile, many fishermen leaders in the city have constituted the Marina Fishermen Protection Committee to coordinate the fight against the monument.
Bharathi pointed out that it’d take several years for the kadavaadu to form again. “Fish production has reduced already near the Chennai coast. The project will reduce the resource further and create competition among the local fishermen. Instead of constructing the monument in the sea, the government should construct it on land,” he explained.
Bharathi opined that the coastal regulation zone rules allow certain projects to be carried out in the sea by giving exemption. The government is misusing the exemption to construct the monument. The newly constituted panel has decided to meet leaders of all the political parties in the State and urge them to raise their voices against the project.
The fishermen also expressed discontent over the government’s inaction in identifying fishing areas across the State. “The CRZ regulation has mandated the State governments to demarcate fishing areas. But it has only earmarked areas for ports and other developments. Also, the district CRZ committees should have 3 representatives from fishermen communities. But the members are yet to be appointed,” Bharathi pointed out.
The 42-metre-tall pen monument is proposed to be constructed 360 metres from the shoreline with a bridge linking the monument and the beach at Rs 80 crore. The proposed site falls under CRZ-1A, CRZ-II and CRZ-IVA areas and green signal has been given by the State level authorities.
The government will conduct a public hearing on the project in Kalaivanar Arangam on Wallajah Road in Triplicane on January 31. The expert appraisal committee of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has issued terms of reference to the project under which the public hearing has been mandated.
Citing nesting and breeding sites of Olive Ridley Sea Turtle along the Chennai coast and the project would damage the nesting grounds, B Ramkumar Adityan, an advocate, has filed a case with the NGT.
The proposed site falls under CRZ-1A, CRZ-II and CRZ-IVA areas... The State government will conduct a public hearing on the project in Kalaivanar Arangam on Wallajah Road in Triplicane on January 31