Tenders have been floated for reclaiming land inside the Kasimedu fishing harbour in order to create additional space for auctioning of fish.

This platform will be constructed using the process of block wall reclamation, where a wall would be constructed, the sea water pumped out and the space filled up. The estimated cost of the project is Rs. 3.33 crore and the work would be completed in six months, sources said.

The construction of this platform for fish auctioning has been necessitated as a portion of land inside the fishing harbour is being used to widen the main carriageway and service road from the zero gate to Surya Narayana Chetty Road as part of the Ennore Manali Road Improvement Project (EMRIP). The fisherfolk had agreed to part with space after the Chennai Port gave its nod to dredge the sea and construct the auction hall.

“We had asked for 100 mt width and 50 mt into the sea. But the Port has called for tenders for only 30 mt into the sea. We have informed them that it is insufficient space and need more width. This spot is only 100 mt from the wharf and we need a proper location for auctioning of fish. The port has also agreed to construct a cement platform for drying of fish,” said a representative of the committee of fisherman.

The new wall would not exceed the breakwater of the Port. Chennai Port Trust officials said they would start the reclamation work only after getting the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) clearance. The application has been forwarded to the concerned department and they are hopeful of getting the clearance soon, officials said.

However, sources said there was hardly any progress on the reclamation or dredging work in the last six months even though Port officials have been giving assurances repeatedly. 

Environmental consultant, Meena Nambiar said such constructions for fishing activity were common. Fish landing centres, auction halls and other infrastructure are being created for fisherfolk everywhere and is a permitted activity under the CRZ law.

Following the hurdles faced by the contractor in completion of the Rs. 600-crore EMRIP in several places, including Cherian Nagar and NTO Kuppam, the shipping minister, G.K. Vasan had extended the deadline by four months to October 2013. The onset of monsoon in the coming months is going to be a worrisome factor for early completion of this project, said port users.

A similar process of construction of a wall and filling up of the space created was done at Nettukuppam in Ennore by the Water Resources Department last year, after about 100 mt of shoreline was eroded overnight.

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