CHENNAI: The deferring of demolition of the illegal bungalows on Olive Beach layout at Muttukadu has irked the fishermen of neighbouring Karikattukupppam village as they fear loss of livelihood. They are anguished that for the past two months, big boulders of the unauthorised sea wall, being built by the bungalow owners to protect their property from sea erosion, are filling up the Karikattukuppam beach which is used by the fishers to park their boats.
Murugan, a fishermen leader and petitioner in the case in Madras High Court, told TNIE that every morning sharp-edged rocks of different sizes carpet the coastline. “The high-tide waves bring these rocks and at times they even badly damaged our boats. Everyday, before venturing 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 with the day’s catch, our fishing gear suffer irreparable damage,” he said.
There is a thin strip of beach separating the sea and Muttukadu brackish water lagoon, which is maintained by the Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA). Karikattukuppam is located on the leeward side of the lagoon on East Coast Road. Currently, there is not enough space for the fishermen to park their boats and sea erosion has swallowed close to 150 metres of beach in the recent past.
Vasanth, another fisherman, said they had demanded the government to open a new bar mouth connecting Muttukadu lagoon and sea. “This will allow us to park our boats securely in our village and access the sea through lagoon.” Fishermen said the urgent requirement was to demolish the sea wall and bungalows and free up this fragile coastline from encroachments.
The High Court has already ordered for demolition. “Without wasting any time, the authorities should carry out demolition and protect our livelihood,” the fishermen said. Officials of the TN Coastal Zone Management Authority said though the High Court has dismissed the review petition filed by Olive bungalow owners, the court has ordered deferring of demolition for a period of one month, which ends on October 31.