NGT order on CZMP proves fraud at highest level, say activists

The National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) order directing authorities to take the 1996 Coastal Zone Management Plan map with approved modifications in respect of Tiruvallur district while preparing the Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP), “proved that industrialisation of the Ennore Creek and the Kattupalli island was based on fraud committed at the highest level, including by regulators”, environmental activists have claimed.

In a statement, the Save Ennore Creek Campaign said the NGT’s findings throw the validity of the recently-prepared 2018 CZMP into question, as this map was based on an ‘amended’ 1997 map rather than the approved 1996 map.

While directing the authorities to use the 1996 map instead of the 1997 map, the NGT noted that the documents produced by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) showed that when the CZMPs were prepared on the basis of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2011, “They have verified the alleged 1997 CZMP produced by the State of Tamil Nadu for their verification and found that most of the ecologically sensitive areas and major portion of the water bodies like Kosasthalaiyar River and Salt Pans were omitted in the 1997 Plan and the same were included in the 2018 Plan.”

The bench noted that though Sheet No. 2 was modified as per an MoEF&CC letter, the plan had not been prepared whereas the Tamil Nadu government claimed it had been prepared in accordance with the law.

The Save Ennore Creek campaign claimed that the NGT’s order confirmed the allegations by activists and Ennore fishers that the former Director of Environment, Dr. H. Malleshappa presented an illegal and unapproved coastal zone management plan (CZMP) that deleted entire sections of the river and backwaters to justify industrial take-over of eco-sensitive wetlands within the Ennore Creek in Tiruvallur district.

“In June 2017, the Department of Environment revealed, for the first time, a map prepared in 1997 asserting that to be an officially amended, approved map that replaced an earlier Government of India-approved CZMP map of 1996. The Department of Environment, which also serves as secretariat for the State Coastal Zone Management Authority, has used the illegal map to justify the establishment of industries and infrastructure within the Ennore wetlands,” the Campaign said.

The Campaign said the Kamarajar Port, L&T Port, TNRDC’s port access road, the North Chennai Thermal Power Station’s Phase III which is to be inaugurated by the Chief Minister shortly, portions of the NTECL Vallur power plant, BPCL and HPCL’s oil terminals, the Chettinad coal yard, road and conveyor belts, and the Ennore SEZ’s conveyor belts have all been allowed in the eco-sensitive ‘No Development Zone’ by hiding the government-approved map.

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 7:56:12 PM |

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