CHENNAI: A four-member team appointed by an Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Union Environment Ministry visited the Pulicat Bird Sanctuary in Tiruvallur on Tuesday and assessed the impact of proposed groynes construction.
Led by MV Ramanamurthy, director of National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR), the team visited the lake’s bar mouth, where construction is planned. Ramanamurthy said his team will file the report shortly.
The State government has sanctioned `27 crore for construction of two training walls or groynes, measuring 160m and 150m on either side of the bar mouth. The project is aimed to stabilise the bar mouth to enable continuous sea access to fishing boats in all seasons. The project has been a long-pending demand of over 35,000 fisherfolk inhabiting 60 villages from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
However, the EAC had expressed concern and said, “It would alter the entire flow regime of the Pulicat Lake, which is an important wetland, hosting large congregations of birds. Any unscientific interventions like opening of mouth may have severe impacts on the lagoon ecology.” Hence, the expert team was appointed to conduct a site visit and submit a report.
Tiruvallur MP K Jayakumar, who accompanied the team, told TNIE, “I have constantly followed-up the issue with the environment ministry. This project is very important and a necessity for local fishermen. The EAC, instead of raising objections to such projects, should try to stop projects like Adani-Kattupalli Port expansion that would have devastating impact on Pulicat Lake.”
Several fishermen organisations submitted memorandum to the team. Durai Mahendran, a fishermen leader, said the bar mouth has choked due to constructions upstream. “In the past, the mouth used to be always open. There should be constant exchange of water between the lake and the sea for a healthy fish stock.”
Govt’s way of dealing with it
State government has sanctioned Rs 27 crore for construction of training walls
The Pulicat Lake mouth is silted and reduced in width and depth
The bar mouth is completely choked, making it difficult for fishing vessels to enter the sea
Fish stock has depleted considerably
Build training walls on either side of the bar mouth to keep it open round the year
Deepen it by 3m to allow free movement of fishing vessels
Northern wall will be of 160m and southern wall will be of 150m
Bar mouth opening will be enhanced to 300m from the current 40m
Having 300m of bar mouth open in all seasons will bring in excessive sea water into the lake, which may cause more harm than good
Natural sand drift movement is likely to be affected
Environment ministry said unscientific interventions may have severe impacts on lagoon ecology