CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Friday asked the organisers of the private beach festival ‘Spoken Wave’ not to hold any of their activities within 100 metres of the beach and restrained them from holding any water sport or using terrain vehicles as part of the festival.
The court has issued the directions following a writ petition filed by Shravan Krishnan, a member of the Students’ Sea Turtle Conservation Network, which is concerned with the rescue, care and general welfare of Olive Ridley turtles since 1987.
Express on February 20 carried an article on how the ill-conceived beach festival, reportedly planned on the beach front of the VGP Golden Beach Resorts in Injambakkam, would affect the Olive Ridley turtles nesting. The petitioner has attached a copy of the news report along with the petition while seeking stay on the festival.
“Although the High Court Bench did not issue the stay order, the directions would effectively put the festival out of the beach area. No participants in the event are allowed within 100 metres of the beach, including the private property. No bright lighting, and light and stages should be faced inwards,” said Shravan, listing out the court’s directions.
In his petition, Shravan said the phenomenon known as ‘Arribadha’, which would result in an increase in the population of Olive Ridley sea turtles and which is expected to wash up on the shores, has begun. The turtles make their way to the beach from around 9 pm onwards to nest, as they are highly sensitive to light. It is beyond doubt that a full-blown festival from 3 pm to 3 am along with loud music and bright lights will only cause harm and throw off the reproductive cycles of these turtles.
Olive Ridley eggs are mostly well hidden and buried in the sand, and even if the festival goers were cautious, there was a high chance of a fair number of these inconspicuous eggs being trampled upon, causing loss of life, especially considering that there would be heavy all-terrain vehicles as part of this event, he said.
The website of the ‘Spoken Wave’ festival admittedly stated that the expected turnout at this event is around 3,000 people over the course of 12 hours, from 3 pm to 3 am on Saturday.Pictures from the last year’s edition of the festival clearly show the events taking place on the beach, along with other dangerous activities more commonly known as ‘ATV’ rides involving high-speed motor vehicles in the vicinity of turtle nesting areas, the petition said.
Though the counsel of Nimisha Sara Philip, founder of Spoken Wave, claimed in the court that the event had clearance from the forest department, the set of documents submitted did not have the supporting evidence. Only the police and Coastal Security Group permissions were obtained.