CHENNAI: The southern bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday vacated the interim stay on construction of a standalone tuna fishing harbour in Thiruvottiyur Kuppam village in Ennore.The relief was granted after the fisheries department obtained environment clearance from the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA). In February this year, while admitting the petition filed by Meenavar Nala Sangam, the tribunal had ordered a stay on the project after it was prima facie proved that the construction was being carried without obtaining mandatory environment clearance. In July, the tribunal formed a joint committee, comprising members from SEIAA, Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and the Tiruvallur Collector to submit a factual and action-taken report, including any violation and extent of environmental damage caused.
On Monday, when the matter came up for hearing, the committee submitted the report and confirmed that the project got the environment clearance from SEIAA. But, to assess the damage caused by the fisheries department to the coastal area and calculate the compensation, the panel sought assistance from Institute of Remote Sensing, Anna University.The tribunal accepted the recommendation of the committee and posted the case for further hearing to October 27.
Fisheries Commissioner GS Sameeran told TNIE that the proposed tuna fishing harbour was a flagship project of the State government intended to create exclusive facilities for better tuna catching and processing.“The facility is intended principally to ease out the congested Chennai fishing harbour as it is overflowing with more traffic and fishing activities. At times, there is an acute shortage of space to land the boats inside the harbour. The proposed harbour is located about 3.5 km north of Chennai fishing harbour, which will provide location advantage and flexibility in harbour operation and fishing activities.”
As per the Detailed Project Report, the proposed harbour will have fish handling halls, auction hall, cold storage, ice factory, fuelling station, power backup centres and dormitory for workers. Water spread areas and the proposed wharf facilities are envisaged with elaborate engineering design to facilitate fishing activities and vessel management for about 300 FRP boats, 300 trawlers and 200 tuna vessels.
At present, there are about 300 boats operating from the Chennai fishing harbour exclusively to venture deep into the Bay of Bengal to catch tuna and bring in about 1,000 tonnes every month.Tamil Nadu is making attempts to enhance the harbour facilities and promote deep-sea tuna catching and processing, as this is seen as a solution to fishermen problems.
The harbour is being built at a cost of `241.42 crore.