Fishermen oppose BSNL’s CANI project

Fishermen attached to the South Indian Fishermen Welfare Association have raised objection to the Chennai-Andaman Nicobar Islands (CANI) project claiming that the project violates Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules.
The cabling works are undertaken in the coastal area where Olive Ridley turtles lay their eggs regularly
The cabling works are undertaken in the coastal area where Olive Ridley turtles lay their eggs regularly


“In the CANI project, the BSNL is planning to lay submarine cable but the works undertaken in the coastal area violates CRZ rules as it falls in the area where Olive Ridley Turtles lay their eggs regularly. We have written a letter to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest and also to Greater Chennai Police Commissioner to take criminal action on the BSNL officials for violating CRZ rules,” Bharathi, president, South Indian Fishermen Welfare Association, told DT Next.

To provide internet connectivity to Andaman, Nicobar and host of few other islands, the BSNL has undertaken CANI project which aims at linking mainland with the islands through submarine cables. For the purpose, the BSNL has started digging manholes in shore area in Nambikkai nagar in Pattinampakkam.

However, fishermen in the region oppose the project claiming that the project violates CRZ rules. “BSNL has permission to lay submarine cables but not for digging manholes as manholes hamper the egg laying process of Olive Ridley turtles. The season is about to commence and at the right time BSNL has commenced its work which should be stopped immediately”, said Bharathi.

The CRZ rules clearly mandate that no commercial work should be undertaken in mainland located within 500 metres from the coast but the officials are turning blind eye to the violators.

“Already, a private telecom company has dug a manhole and we are already opposing the project and at this time a state-owned company like BSNL should not flout the government rules. Large boulders are placed around the manholes to protect them and it further adds to the woes of Olive Ridleys,” said Bharathi.

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