CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation Limited (Tantransco) has started building a temporary road inside the main channel of the Kosasthalaiyar River for erecting transmission towers. The road, being allegedly built by dumping tonnes of debris and dredged sea sand, is coming up where floodwaters from Thiruvottiyur, Manali and Ponneri taluk (Araniyar-Kosasthalai River) enter the sea. This may aggravate the flood situation in the city, say environmentalists pointing to the inundation caused by rain in November.
As per official records, the corporation had obtained Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance from the Union Environment Ministry for erecting transmission tower and transmission line of 765KV from North Chennai Thermal Power Station Stage-3 to North Chennai Pooling Station in Ennore.
In 15 out of 20 places, the tower foundation work has been completed and 13 transmission towers have been erected.According to Ennore fishermen, most of temporary roads built to deploy heavy machinery for construction are still intact. According to CRZ rules, the area must be restored to its original shape after the completion of construction.
The work on remaining seven towers was halted after fishermen from eight villages, Nettu Kuppam, Thazhan Kuppam, Kattukuppam, Ennore kuppa, Mugathuvarakuppam, Sivanpadaiveethi Kuppam, Periyakuppam and Chinnakupam, protested in last June. Tiruvallur collector organized a meeting between fishermen and corporation officials and allowed the work to resume in November.
According to Ravi Maran, a fisherman, the permission for erecting transmission towers was given for survey numbers 178/B and 255 of Ennore village, but 15 days ago, the corporation began illegal reclamation work by dumping dredged sea sand into the Kosasthalai River in survey numbers 1556 and 1557 of Vallur revenue village. "This location does not feature in any permission including the CRZ clearance obtained by the corporation," he said.
Maran also said the work has encroached two fishing grounds at Lock Munai Paadu, and affected fish catch at three more fishing grounds, Signal Paadu, Samuthira Munai and Bridge Tharai Paadu. Dumping of dredged sand is also illegal as a committee set up by the National Green Tribunal in a case related to the Kamarajar Port’s encroachment of Ennore backwaters found that dredged sand is highly contaminated, and advised against using it for reclaiming water bodies.
An official of the transmission corporation said the towers will not affect the passage of boats and concerns of fishermen about their livelihood being affected by them were untenable. The official also refuted the allegations on CRZ clearance violation.