CHENNAI: Pulicat and Ennore fishers, farmers, activists and Chennai residents on Wednesday expressed opposition against the proposed Adani Kattupalli Port stating that it will destroy the livelihood of 50,000 local fishers, in addition to degrading eco-sensitive sites in that area. The project will also worsen water scarcity and expose 10 lakh people in Chennai and Tiruvallur districts to increased flood and cyclone risk, according to a joint statement issued by them at a press meet.
“With climate change, Tamil Nadu is likely to face severe water crisis and intense rainfall over short periods of time. We may get three months worth of rainfall in one day,” said G Sundarrajan, of Poovulagin Nanbargal, an environmental advocacy organisation, adding that mangroves and waterbodies at Ennore and Pulicat act as reservoirs during heavy rain and recharges groundwater during scarcity. “When these precious landscapes are encroached, Chennai and Tiruvallur will face intense flooding during rain,” he said.
Recently, an expert committee of the Ministry of Environment submitted a report that found that “Majority of the proposed development falls under erosion zone” and that the company proposes to “reclaim some water bodies along the Kosathalaiyar estuary.” The report also observed that “The entire Pulicat system, along with Buckingham Canal and Ennore Creek, has been designated as ecologically-sensitive areas and placed under Coastal Regulations Zone -1.”
Further, construction of the port will also lead to severe erosion of the coast southwards from the port, the statement said adding, “Erosion triggered by the port’s breakwaters will breach the thin barrier separating Pulicat lake from Bay of Bengal and merge the lake into the sea. If this happens, inland areas in Gummidipoondi and Ponneri taluks, and Andhra Pradhesh will face the full fury of cyclones.”
A retired High Court judge D Hariparanthaman told reporters that the port is laying a foundation for disaster. “Tamil Nadu’s coast already has three ports. Building another will destroy the coastal ecosystem and livelihood. Such a large port has to be built at natural harbours that have still water. We’re putting ourselves at high-risk.” Representatives of Pazhaverkadu Lighthouse Paguthi Meenavar Sangam, and other organisations also addressed the media.