Ennore fishermen protest, block road near Kosasthalaiyar

Say encroachments near mouth of river led to waterlogging

Published - November 04, 2017 01:15 am IST - CHENNAI

As heavy rain battered the city for the second day on Thursday, several residential settlements in Ennore witnessed flooding. Fishermen in Ennore staged a protest at a road being levelled at the mouth of the Kosasthalaiyar river draining into the Ennore creek by Tangedco on Friday, raising the issue of the danger posed by such encroachments that had resulted in waterlogging in nearby areas. Several fishermen assembled at the site of the road levelling on the riverbed and demanded that authorities remove it immediately to allow flood waters to drain into the sea, threatening to take matters into their own hands otherwise.

R.L. Srinivasan, leader of the Kaatukuppam Fishermen’s Cooperative Society, said that a white sand road was being laid by Tangedco right at the mouth of the Kosasthalaiyar river at the point where it joins the Ennore creek before draining into the Bay of Bengal.

“I had filed a petition in the NGT on the matter and got a favourable order 3 months ago that instructed TANGEDCO to remove sand roads being laid on the riverbed. But they haven’t respected the court’s orders,” he said, adding that they were protesting because blocking the natural flow of the water of the river posed not only the danger of flood which Athipattu and Manali areas were witnessing, but also jeopardising their livelihood.

“In 2015, we took 100 boats and rescued 30,000 people from north Chennai. We are prepared to help again if the need arises. But the Government should not make a bad situation worse by tolerating such blatant encroachments,” he said.

An inspection report submitted by the Regional Office of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Nungambakkam, has confirmed that “M/S TANGEDCO has encroached upon and blocked the backwaters of Ennore Creek beneath the Ennore Highway bridge by establishing an approach road no. 2 of 350 m length and 6 m width for the construction of external coal conveyor system without obtaining the prior approval from MoEF&CC, New Delhi and Tamil Nadu Coastal Zone Management Authority (TNCZMA).”

The Regional Office also reported that: “Approach road no. 2 clearly obstructs the natural flow of water within the Ennore Creek which may perhaps cause flood vulnerability in that area. Livelihood of communities in the surrounding Ennore Creek who directly depend on fishing activity may also be affected.”

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