Fishermen 'All At Sea' Over Beach Beautification?
CHENNAI: Representatives from fishing villages in the city alleged that the fishing community was not consulted during the public hearing on the `55 crore beach beautification project. The fishermen said that the project would be a violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone notification of 2011 and create environmental damage to the area — affecting their livelihood.
K Saravanan, resident of Uroor Kuppam said that the heads of the traditional panchayat bodies or the leaders of the Fishermen Cooperative Societies knew nothing about the public hearing. “Nobody knew about these public hearings. We came to know about them only when they were reported in the newspapers”, he said about the project which is to be developed on 2.6 acres of land in Kottivakkam, Palavakkam and Neelangarai.
The fishermen said that the project would be a violation of the CRZ rules which ban activities that can affect the coastal eco-system. They said that years after the four month period to identify areas under the CRZ were over, the corporation and the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority are still to complete the process.
“Much of the area that has been identified by the corporation for the project falls within the Coastal Regulation Zone as per the Draft Detailed Project Report of the beautification project. Our demand is that such activities must not be undertaken on the coast before the areas under the CRZ is identified,” said R Kuppan, Secretary of the Fishermen Cooperative Society of Kottivakkam.
The fishermen said that if the project is undertaken as the current draft report, the fishermen will stand to lose much of the public space, including areas to park their boats and weave nets. “On the one hand we are seeing more and more intrusion from the land with new buildings and projects with the corporation failing to identify the coastal regulation zone violations. On the other hand, the sea itself is eating the land. The fishermen are left with nowhere to go” he said.
They added that they will be meeting the CM, the Corporation Commissioner and the State Coastal Regulation Zone Authority in the coming days. “We have already given these issues in writing to various authorities. Now we will be going in person and bringing the issue to the notice of the authorities. We will look at the further cause of action based on their response,” said K Saravanan.