The Fishing Harbour Management Committee (FHMC), Kasimedu, has issued a notice to boat and catamaran owners directing them to remove the fishing equipment from the site inside the fishing harbour where dredging has been proposed.
The dredging has been necessitated following a demand from fisherfolk for additional land as compensation for the property they parted with to pave the way for widening the 1.6-km stretch from Chennai Port zero gate to NH4 police station at Kasimedu.
Following this, the Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) had conceded to their demand and said it would expand the fish auctioning platform and deepen the space below the platform through dredging. ChPT officials said soon after getting Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance, the expansion work would be completed in 45 days and the dredging within 30 days.
FHMC deputy civil engineer M. Shanmugam said when the engineers and contractors arrived at the scene with four earth movers, they were unable to commence the dredging due to a large number of fishing boats, fibre boats and catamarans in the area. The fisherfolk have been asked to remove their implements till the work is completed.
In response, the Chennai-Tiruvallur-Kancheepuram District Mechanised Fishermen Welfare Association shot off a letter to FHMC saying the National Highways Authority of India, which is implementing the Rs. 600-crore Ennore Manali Road Improvement Project (EMRIP), had promised not to disturb their work even during construction of the road.
The Association has also sought to know whether CRZ permission had been sought for the dredging work. It also said that at no point any earth mover had entered the area and therefore could not be denied access.
The Association, which is an umbrella body of 30 organisations, has appealed to the Chief Minister to not remove the fishing equipment as it would affect their livelihood. It has sought that the ChPT should start the dredging without causing disturbance to anyone.