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Fishermen oppose coal jetty in Udangudi
Country boat fishermen in parts of Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli struck work on Monday condemning the construction of a coal jetty near Kallamazhi shore in Thoothukudi district.
The construction of the coal jetty was under way for two proposed 600 MW coal-based supercritical thermal power projects in Udangudi.
The protesting fishermen sailed up to the jetty and besieged it as part of their demonstration. Expressing dissent over the construction, they waved black flags and raised slogans while pressing their demand to scrap the project.
According to SJ Gayes, president, Thoothukudi District Country Boat Fishermen Association, fishermen from 37 coastal hamlets in Thoothukudi and nine from Tirunelveli joined the strike. They sailed in around 500 boats to besiege the jetty, he said.
Gayes said that the project would be detrimental to fishery resources and affect the diversity of marine flora and fauna. The sea was the lifeline for fishermen and they would lose their livelihood if the jetty was constructed. As an alternative to the coal jetty, the government should think of bringing coal either by train or truck, he added.
Not only the coal jetty, but any existence of coal-fired thermal plant would cause environmental pollution, which could also affect agriculture in parts of Udangudi, the president of the association said. He added that it was not the ideal site for the construction of the plant since surplus water from Ellappanayakkankulam would find its way through this site to the shore.
Therefore, he opined that the government should try and devise suitable strategies to establish solar and wind mill industries to produce clean energy.
Petitions to scrap the coal jetty project were submitted to Thoothukudi Collector Sandeep Nanduri earlier. The issue was also taken up to Electricity Minister, P Thangamani, who said that talks would be held to settle the issue amicably, however, nothing has happened so far. However, Gayes alleged that the construction of the project started without holding the meeting.