CHENNAI: Rampant illegal constructions in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules continues to degrade Chennai’s coastline, especially the Thiruvanmiyur shore, which is also the nesting habitat of the endangered Olive Ridley turtle.
Fresh constructions coming-up on the beach dangerously close to the sea are in utter disregard to CRZ Notification - 2011, which strictly prohibits any construction towards seaward side. It demarcates 200 metres from the High Tide Line (HTL) towards landward side as No Development Zone, where only select public utility projects are provisioned.
However, all new projects being carried out by influential individuals and institutions sit right on the hazard line. Since the area is frequented by marine turtles for nesting, it is classified as CRZ 1A (ecologically sensitive with geomorphological features which play a role in the maintaining of integrity of the coast).
The latest Tamil Nadu gazette notification issued in September last under Section 5 the Tamil Nadu Marine Fishing Regulation Act, 1983 deems the coastline from Napier Bridge to Thiruvanmiyur regional transport office as potential and breeding sites of sea turtles.
During a visit to the spot, two fully grown Olive Ridley turtles, probably with eggs inside, were found dead close to the compound wall of a building indicating the vulnerability of the coast.
Although, CRZ II (areas that have been developed up to or close to the shoreline) of CRZ Notification, 2011 talks about permitting building constructions, it is only on the landward side of the existing road or on the landward side of existing authorised structures.
The guidelines for development of beach resorts and hotels in the designated areas of CRZ-III and CRZ-II for tourist and visitors in Annexure-III of the notification also emphasised that the project proponent should not undertake any construction within 200 metres in the landward side of HTL.
The southern bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) recently rejected the appeal made by Rajakkamangalam Thurai Fishing Harbour Pvt Ltd, which proposed to construct a fishing harbour in Kanyakumari, saying the proposed project area had sand dunes and was a turtle nesting ground. The tribunal said no construction was permitted in CRZ 1A area.