CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Fisheries Department moved the southern bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) seeking suspension of the order directing removal of groynes and wall built in Kovalam. Fisheries Commissioner Beela Rajesh has filed the appeal before the green bench. Walls and groynes were constructed to address the serious problem of sea erosion at Kovalam where the sea had rapidly advanced into the village for about 130 meters, the appeal said.
“The project was executed in the light of the pressing urgency involving the lives of the fishermen/villagers. Demolition of the groynes and seawalls, which were remedial measures, may not be the solution and in fact, would only cause further environmental damage. It is, therefore, pleased to suspend the order,” the official submitted before the tribunal. The department claimed that several representations were given by the villagers and there was a threat to houses being washed away and even boats could not be parked,” the appeal read.
Beela Rajesh said two expert bodies – IIT Madras and Tamil Nadu Costal Zone Management Authority (TNCZMA) – have recommended the laying of the groynes and walls and clearance from the central government will also be obtained at the earliest.
Environmentalists claim that the illegal structures at Kovalam have only shifted the problem from one side to another. “The northern side of the structures is seeing unprecedented erosion, which has already chewed-up 150 metres of sandy beach,” Pooja Kumar of Coastal Resource Centre, a city-based NGO, said. Scientists at Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture said the swell waves during the high tide are bringing sea water into their Muthukadu experimental station and it’s just matter of time before walls at their facility are breached. “We have petitioned Beela Rajesh, but it was ignored,” a scientist said.