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KPL commences mega project without clearances, allege activists

Local residents and members of Save Ennore Creek Campaign claim that at least 500 acres have already been levelled in preparation for a railway yard, a Free Trade Warehouse Zone and a coal yard.

Published: 21st June 2019 06:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st June 2019 06:11 AM   |  A+A-

Heavy discharge of fly ash from a leaking pipeline in Ennore Creek on Thursday | Express

Express News Service

CHENNAI: In a continuation of ongoing reclamation of Ennore Creek wetlands, Kamarajar Port Limited (KPL) has allegedly commenced work on 261-acre Coastal Employment Unit (CEU) by dumping dredged sea sand to level wetlands along the western edge of Ennore backwaters, activists say.

Local residents and members of Save Ennore Creek Campaign claim that at least 500 acres have already been levelled in preparation for a railway yard, a Free Trade Warehouse Zone and a coal yard.

In response, KPL officials categorically rubbished the allegations. P Raveendran, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, KPL told Express that the ongoing works in the area have nothing to do with CEU project.

Another senior port official from operations explained the port was reclaiming low-lying areas and strengthening the embankment. “The area we are reclaiming is neither a Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) or inter-tidal area. When we proposed dredging, this area was identified for reclamation. We are not going to construct any railway platform and holding yard in the reclaimed area,” the official said. He also said the same group of activists had made a complaint three weeks ago and Tiruvallur District Environmental Engineer (DEE) had come for an inspection. “We showed the DEE all the documents and he was convinced there was no violation.”

However, Nityanand Jayaraman of Save Ennore Creek Campaign said the damage that was being caused will eliminate fresh water sources. “The backwaters are an important natural defence infrastructure against seawater intrusion into the rich groundwater resources of Araniyar Kosasthalaiyar (AK) Basin. “Chennai is currently drawing more than 100 MLD of water from the well fields in AK basin. If revived and maintained properly, it can yield up to 125 MLD of freshwater — far more than the 100 MLD desalination plant,” he said.  

Janakarajan, a water resource expert, said flood plains that are unique to Ennore Creek retain water, protecting mainland groundwater resources from salinity intrusion. “What I am seeing in Ennore is a murder of a fragile ecosystem.”

Leaks continue
Leaks from network of fly ash pipelines crisscrossing Ennore Creek continues to threaten its wetlands. On Thursday a major leak was spotted where the fly ash was gushing out of the rusted pipeline belonging to North Chennai Thermal Power Station



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