Groynes at Kovalam a breach: Activists

After the illegal construction of groynes at Kovalam was stopped in April, fresh violations have been noticed by local residents. Roads have been constructed on the beach, using construction debris, on the inter-tidal zone, which is a violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules.

The construction of groynes, undertaken by the Tamil Nadu Fisheries Department came to a standstill in April, due to lack of clearance from the Tamil Nadu State Coastal Zone Management Authority (TNSCZMA). However, residents recently noticed a flurry of construction activity. “On July 25, I was shocked to see hectic activity.
The road constructed earlier was washed away and new roads were temporarily being constructed to transport the boulders to the construction site. However, these roads cut right across the beach and up to the shore. On July 29, trucks with huge boulders were plying on these roads. Four groynes are being constructed – one at the mouth of the Muttukadu river, where it joins the sea, one near Fisherman’s Cove and two more along the beach near Kovalam.
What was once a beautiful stretch of the beach has now become a complete mess,” said a source, who works at Kovalam. Dr H Malleshappa, Member Secretary, TNSCZMA says, “The department has applied at the district level for permission but the clearance is yet to reach the TNSCZMA. We have not granted permission so far. Any work that is happening is not permissible.”

Saravanan Kasi, an activist with the Coastal Resource Centre, said they managed to stop the construction temporarily. “But these activities are still going on. Though this project was started at the behest of the local fishermen, who want protection from sea erosion, construction of groynes will only lead to erosion in the neighbouring villages across the coast,” he said.
Pooja Kumar, who also works at the Centre, pointed out, “Access roads that are laid for construction purposes are never removed. There is a new trend of post-facto clearance – work being started and later on, applying for clearance,” she added. Dr. V.Sundar, Professor, Ocean Department, IIT Madras, said they were initially consulted upon for this project.
“Groynes have yielded positive results in arresting erosion in areas like north of Chennai harbour, for example. But groynes are not suitable for all areas and need to be planned only after a thorough study. We suggested construction of Training Walls along the backwater areas and groynes, after studying the area. However, it has to be done in the proper sequence, with expert consultation. The problem of erosion cannot be treated with piecemeal solutions, by building a groyne now and adding others later. There should be a holistic solution to tackle it,” concluded this expert.
The original article appeared in DT Next on 3rd August 2016 – Read the Original Article here 
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