Construction activities have affected fishing in the area, they say

Work on a bridge across the Ennore creek was stopped on Tuesday following a protest by fishermen in eight villages around Ennore.

The fisherfolk demanded the authorities provide jobs to compensate for the loss of their livelihood due to various construction activities across the creek.

According to the highways department, during the project period of two years, the fishermen had stopped work for over 30 days stating various reasons.

“We pay them Rs. 6,000 a month and have spent close to Rs. 1.20 crore on their salaries alone. They are unskilled labourers and know nothing about civil engineering,” an official said.

The deadline for the Rs. 52-crore bridge has been pushed to mid-May from March-end due to frequent strikes by fishermen in the area. Only three spans remain to the completed on the bridge, which takes off at Ennore and goes up to Kuruvimedu near North Chennai Thermal Power Station (NTPS).

The bridge is expected to reduce 24 km of travel for those going to areas including Minjur, NTPS, Nallur, Athipattu and Thiruvellavoyal.

Kalaivanan of Nettukuppam said water flow from the sea to the creek and vice versa had been affected due to the work. Fish breed in the estuary. Ever since work was taken up to construct a rail bridge, a coal conveyor, and most recently, the bridge across the creek, fishing activities in Kosasthalai river had been affected, he said.

The fisherfolk demanded additional openings below the bridge under construction so that more water could pass freely.

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