Activist alleges CRZ violations in Tantransco towers installation

Nityanand Jayaraman, an environment activist, who is fighting for the revival of Ennore Creek, said that the Tantransco has availed CRZ clearances for erecting 13 towers assuring that none of the towers will be erected inside the eco sensitive locations like mangroves.
The approved and actual alignment of Tantransco towers
The approved and actual alignment of Tantransco towers

CHENNAI: At a time when the cry for removing encroachments from water bodies and waterways to prevent flooding in the city gaining support, Tantransco (Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation Limited) - a government body has erected electricity towers on Kosasthalaiyar River in Ennore Creek by blatantly violating the clearance accorded by Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Authority, said an environment activist.

Nityanand Jayaraman, an environment activist, who is fighting for the revival of Ennore Creek, said that the Tantransco has availed CRZ clearances for erecting 13 towers assuring that none of the towers will be erected inside the eco sensitive locations like mangroves. The towers are being erected since 2021.

“However, as many as 19 towers have been erected by deviating from original alignment. The towers have been erected to transmit power from Ennore SEZ power plant and North Chennai Thermal Power Plant,” he said.

He added that deviations from the approved alignment have been confirmed by field visits and through RTI petitions. Apart from this, the corporation is yet to remove the temporary pathways which were laid to carry out the works.

Explaining the impact of the violations, Jayaraman explained that due to the towers built on the river, the extend of the river has been reduced which will result in reduction in flood carrying capacity.

The towers and pathways will impede the tidal flow of the sea and keep the fishes entering the river from the sea. This will affect the livelihood of fishermen.

“Even though the towers are yet to be brought into operation, the contamination caused by the soil dumped inside the river to make pathways will affect the ecosystem,” he said.

He also riled that complaints given to authorities have not elicited any response.”

However, a senior Tantransco official denied any deviation in the alignment of erection of high-tension 765 KV towers in Ennore area.

“Yesterday our officials held talks with the local fishermen who are convinced during the talks. There are no issues,” the official said, adding that only erection of the last three towers are in progress and expected to be completed in two to three months.

The 765 KV towers are being erected to evacuate power to be generated from the North Chennai TPS stage III 800 MW, which is expected to be commissioned by end of this year.

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