Chennai, 26th November 2014
Activities undertaken or abetted by the Corporation of Chennai has resulted in encroachments on more than 14 acres of beach space between Marina and Neelankarai. Releasing a report documenting 20 prominent Coastal Regulation Zone violations by the civic body, members of Coastal Resource Centre said the encroachments harm local ecology and fisher livelihoods, and leave local communities more vulnerable to cyclones and long-term effects of climate change. The report was released even as the State Coastal Zone Management Authority was considering the Corporation’s application for post-facto clearance for a foiled beautification project in Marina.
The report was prompted by the Corporation’s insistence on pushing through with two “beautification” projects – one in Marina, and the other in Kottivakkam, Palavakkam and Neelankarai beaches — worth Rs. 100 crore despite strong opposition from residents and fisherfolk. Both projects have commenced illegally without the mandatory CRZ clearances from the State Coastal Zone Management Authority. Rather than take action against the Corporation and make it restore the beach to its natural state, the SCZMA is said to be favourably considering the application.
“The report exposes how the Corporation which is meant to regulate construction in the city is one of the most prominent violators of building rules in the CRZ region,” said K. Saravanan, a fisherman from Urur Kuppam and one of the report’s authors.
At least 15 of the 20 violations involve dumping of construction debris, or the use of debris to construct roads or other structures on the beach. Management of construction and demolition waste is the responsibility of the Corporation of Chennai. In November 2012, the National Green Tribunal came down heavily on the Government for dumping debris in Pattinapakkam and Srinivasapuram beaches, and forced the authorities to restore the beach by removing the debris and a debris-filled road.
“Identifying and acting on violations in the coastal region will free up large areas that can be kept as buffers against extreme weather events, and as space for long-term housing needs of fisherfolk and the poor,” said Nityanand Jayaraman, an advisor to the Coastal Resource Centre. “But identifying and acting against violations requires a bureaucracy with integrity and spine, and the SCZMA is not up to the task,” he added.
For more information, contact:
Saravanan – 9176331717
Nityanand Jayaraman – 9444082401
Coastal Resource Centre – a program of The Other Media
No. 92, Thiruvalluvar Nagar 3rd Cross,
Besant Nagar, Chennai 600 090