Karunanidhi pen memorial: Public hearing on January 31

An executive summary of the project, in English and Tamil, has been uploaded on TNPCB website.

Published: 31st December 2022 05:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st December 2022 05:32 AM   |  A+A-


Former chief minister M Karunanidhi with Actor Sivaji Ganesan enjoying a joke during a function. (EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) will hold a public hearing at Kalaivanar Arangam on January 31 over the proposed 42m-high Kalaignar Pen Monument to be built over Bay of Bengal off the Marina coast. 

An executive summary of the project, in English and Tamil, has been uploaded on TNPCB website. A rapid environmental impact assessment (EIA) prepared by a private consultant was also uploaded for people to understand the various aspects of the project. 

As per the proposal, the monument will be built 360 metres from the shoreline and will be contiguous with the Kalaignar memorial connected by a pedestrian pathway bridge over the sea. About 2,263 square metres of sea area will be reclaimed for building the monument. The total project area will cover 8,551.13 sqm.

Several fishermen and environmentalists have been opposing it saying the “ill-conceived project would damage traditional fishing grounds”.  The EIA report said no fishing boat movement was observed throughout the project area and in a 500-metre radius of the proposed monument during the survey.

The finding, however, is being contested by the fishermen of 14 fishing hamlets located between Cooum river mouth and Adyar river mouth who said the memorial will eat into their traditional and most productive fishing grounds. “It is a muddy seabed populated by prawns and crabs,” said K Bharathi, president, South Indian Fishermen Welfare Association.  

‘Memorial would eat into fishing grounds’

“OUT of 14, at least four fishing villages Mattankuppam, Ayothikuppam, Nadukuppam and Nochikuppam are dependent on the productive coastal waters where the memorial is proposed to be built,” Bharathi said. V Prabhakaran, environmental engineer associated with NGO Poovulagin Nanbargal, said the 382-page rapid EIA was flawed and incomplete.

“There is no mention of sea level rise. The climate action plan released by Chennai Corporation says 100 metres of city coast will erode within five years. The climatology study carried out was based on outdated data from 1971- 2000. The rapid EIA says maximum rainfall in November was 361.6 mm, while the city recorded 1049 mm in 2015 and 1044 mm rainfall was recorded in November this year.

Extreme rainfall events are increasing. Such non-essential projects can lead to unnecessary coast changes.” On page 7, the rapid EIA says the project site was prone to cyclone and tsunami. The study area falls under Zone-III (moderate risk) said the Indian Standard Seismic Zoning Map.

The PWD, after getting the nod of the State Coastal Zone Management Authority, filed an application seeking CRZ clearance from the union environment ministry, where the application is under consideration. PWD officials said reconnaissance and bathymetry surveys were carried out before finalising the location that will cause “no disturbance to other nearby activities.”


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