CHENNAI: It’s a ‘Maradu moment’ of sorts for Chennai, as the posh Olive Beach bungalows along the Muttukadu coastline, have been termed as illegal. The layout, located between the Muttukadu lagoon backwaters and Bay of Bengal, is on the no-development zone, as per the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) classification. The submission was made in the report tabled by K Chandrasekar, member secretary of Mamallapuram Local Planning Authority, in the Madras High Court on Thursday. The court has ordered disconnection of power supply to one of the bungalows, which had illegally placed groynes along the shoreline to protect the building from coastal erosion.
The authorities inspected the layout on November 22, and observed that the ‘unauthorised layout’ was formed in the no-development zone —within 200 metres from the High Tide Line of the CRZ. “About 50 plots were existing within the 10 metre tar road in the unauthorised layout,” the report said.
Express has published a series of articles on illegal constructions along the Muttukadu coast by influential persons, including Kollywood actors. These constructions seem to have worsened the coastal erosion along this region, with a couple of Olive Beach bungalows having already been reduced to rubble. To curb erosion, a wall was constructed illegally by the owners.
WHAT RECORDS SAY
As per records, an unauthorised construction notice was issued to few Olive Beach building owners in October 8, 2012. Subsequently, the buildings were sealed on December 22, 2012. Out of six owners, three obtained interim injunction and two filed writ petitions. Another report prepared by assistant executive engineer of Department of Environment, also concluded that the entire layout (S.No 113 & 114) falls within CRZ-III area, where no construction can be permitted except repairs and reconstruction of existing authorised structures between 0-200 meters of HTL of sea for which prior clearance from Tamil Nadu State Coastal Zone Management Authority must be obtained.
The Madras High Court bench, comprising Justices M Sathyanarayanan and N Seshasayee, took the reports on record and impleaded the Principal Secretary of Public Works Department. Meanwhile, evidence based on geo-mapping done of the area from 2005 disclosed that many constructions, prima facie, appear to be unauthorised and in violation of the CRZ.
“Despite the subsistence of interim orders from 2013 and 2014, the concerned official respondents have not taken steps to vacate the interim orders, which prima facie appears that the concerned officials are in the act of connivance and collusion with the concerned persons, who are alleged to have put up unauthorised illegal structures right in the Bay of Bengal, in utter violation and disregard of CRZ Notification,” the bench said.