The unauthorized sea wall
CHENNAI: The proposed demolition of illegal bungalows in Olive Beach layout at Muttukadu has been deferred by a month and this has irked the fishermen of neighboring Karikattukuppam village as they fear loss of livelihood.
The reason for their anguish is for the past two months, big boulder rocks from the unauthorised sea wall built by these bungalow owners to protect their property from sea erosion are filling-up Karikattukuppam beach, which is used by fishermen for parking their boats.
Murugan, a fishermen leader and petitioner in Madras High Court case, told The New Indian Express, that every morning sharp edged rocks of different sizes carpet the coastline. "The high tide waves bring these rocks and at times even badly damage our boats. Every day, before we venture out for fishing, we are forced to physically remove the rocks. On a few occasions, these rocks lay buried under the shallow waters and when we cast our nets or return from the day's catch our fishing gear gets caught causing irreparable damage," he said.
There is a thin strip of beach separating sea and Muttukadu brackish water lagoon, which is maintained by Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA). Karikattukuppam is located on the leeward side of the lagoon on East Coast Road. Currently, there isn't enough space for fishermen to park their boats and sea erosion has swallowed close to 150 meters of beach in the recent past.
Vasanth, another fisherman, said they had demanded the state government to open a new bar mouth connecting Muttukadu lagoon and sea. "This allows us to park our boats securely in our village and access the sea through the lagoon."
Fishermen said what was required urgently was to demolish the sea wall and Olive bungalows and free up this fragile coastline from encroachments. Madras High Court has already ordered for demolition. "Without wasting any time, authorities should carry out demolition and protect our livelihood," the fishermen said.
When contacted, officials from Tamil Nadu Coastal Zone Management Authority (TNSZMA) told The New Indian Express that through Madras High Court has dismissed the review petition filed by Olive bungalow owners, the court has ordered deferment of demolition for a period of one month, which ends on October 31.