They say it violates assurances given by State and Central governments

The Madras High Court on Monday directed a fishermen’s organisation to attend a meeting convened to resolve the dispute arising out of the plan to lay a road in the fishing harbour area at Kasimedu here for lorry trailers coming to the port’s container terminal, and arrive at a settlement.

The First Bench of Chief Justice M. Y. Eqbal and Justice T. S. Sivagnanam passed the order while disposing of a writ petition by the Coastal Community Protection Movement here, represented by its founder/president M. A. Jayakumar.

Arguments against the road

The petitioner submitted that the new road contemplated by the Chennai Port Trust (CPT) abutted the port’s wall in front of the residences of fishermen.

This proposal would result in the removal of temporary sheds put up by fishermen. The road, at a height of 12 feet and a width of 60 feet, would affect fishing activities in the harbour.

The laying of the road inside the fishing harbour violated the assurances of State and Central governments that fishermen could carry on their livelihood without hindrance. Expansion of the port made them shift from one place to another.

When the fishing harbour had been demarcated, the area could not be put to use causing hindrance to fishing. Laying a road in the middle of the market area would result in accidents.

Fishermen sold fish, dried their nets and repaired boats and catamarans in the open space between their houses and the fishing harbour.

The organisation prayed the court to issue a direction to restrain the authorities from evicting members of the association from the fishing harbour area.

When the matter came up, the CPT’s counsel said that in order to resolve the dispute, a meeting had been convened and a settlement could be arrived at with the petitioner.

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