CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation Limited (Tantransco) has allegedly laid an illegal access road to erect transmission towers inside the Kosasthalaiyar floodplains. This is despite an order of the southern bench of the National Green Tribunal, which recently asked the Tantransco to remove all temporary roads on the floodplains as these structures will hamper free flow of floodwaters and aggravate flooding in the downstream areas during monsoon.
Local fishermen said the work on the road started a few weeks ago. Photographs taken on December 4 show at least 300 meters already built south of the Chettinad coal conveyor. The construction was underway even as the met department warned of heavy to very heavy rains in Tiruvallur due to Cyclone Mandous. Tantransco managing director R Manivannan said, “We removed all the temporary roads in compliance with the NGT order. I am not aware of any new road work undertaken in Ennore. I will look into the matter.”
Because of the road, downstream areas such as Athipatti Pudhunagar, Athipet colony and Seppakkam are flooded. Knee-deep waterlogging is observed in these areas, which have over 20,000 locals. An official email complaint was sent by RL Srinivasan and Kumaresan, Ennore fishers, last week to authorities concerned seeking intervention, but no action was taken so far.
Srinivasan, who is also the petitioner in the NGT case, told TNIE the area where the new road is being built is the flood water channel. “Residential areas like Athipattu, Seppakkam and others would continue to get flooded even for little rainfall, if this road is not removed immediately,” he said. Also, he claimed Tantransco was erecting transmission towers in unapproved areas and inside mangroves buffer zone in violation of CRZ clearance granted for the transmission lines project.
In October this year, the NGT directed the Tantransco to remove the temporary road structures put up for erection of towers in view of the north-east monsoon, giving them liberty to reconstruct the temporary structure to erect the towers once monsoon ends.
In November, after petitioner Srinivasan’s counsel submitted photographs saying the removal work was only half done, the NGT passed orders on November 10 directing the authorities saying, “as the met department forewarned of heavy rain this week, we direct Tantransco to remove the temporary structures and clear the way for the water to flow freely saving the city from deluge.” The case was posted to December 16.