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Chennai: Highlighting a 2012 report that predicts that 3209.33 sq. km of Tamil Nadu’s coast is likely to be submerged and millions rendered homeless if sea level rises by 1 m by 2100, fisherfolk and environmentalists have urged the state government to ensure that the soon-to-be released Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) accounts for Sea Level Rise (SLR) and contains the mandatory hazard line, long-term plans for fisher housing and prospective land-use. Under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2011, each maritime state ought to have prepared its CZMP by 2012 containing these mandatory elements. Despite the dire warnings contained in the report – “Coastal Zones of India” – by ISRO’s Space Application Centre (SAC), the Governments of India and Tamil Nadu have allowed densification of industrial installations and urban sprawl in vulnerable coastal areas.
Prepared in 2012, the SAC’s report predicts that for a 1 m sea level rise by 2100, sq.km of state highway, 85.66 km of railway infrastructure, 497.65 sq.km of cropland and 826 sq.km of aquifers will be submerged or degraded by tidal action. Another document – “Future Sea Level Rise: Assessment of Loss and Damage in 2015” – prepared for the State Planning Commission predicts that in Chennai alone, 10 lakh people and 144 sq.km of land are in danger of submergence due to SLR by 2050.
While the SAC’s report has been quietly filed away, the State Planning Commission’s report on Chennai has not been published despite its public importance.
As per the submergence maps contained in the SAC’s report, Chennai stands to lose 3.11 sq. km of critical industrial infrastructure, almost all in the Ennore region. NTECL Vallur, all of TANGEDCO’s power plants in Ennore, Kamarajar Port’s existing and proposed infrastructure inside the Creek, HPCL and BPCL’s oil terminals, the Minjur desalination plant and portions of CPCL’s petrochemical refinery in Manali will be swallowed by the sea. The groundwater resources of Araniyar-Kosasthalaiyar basin will be degraded due to tidal ingress. The entire IT corridor will be affected by sea level rise and most of the newly developed areas in Pallikaranai marshlands will be submerged under an advancing sea.
Industries and settlements in low-lying areas – such as the proposed 4000 MW Cheyyur plant and existing nuclear complex in Kalpakkam, the existing IL&FS plant and proposed petroleum refinery and Petrochemical Investment Region in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam, industrial installations and salt pans in Tuticorin and the Koodankulam nuclear reactors are located in vulnerable areas that are prone either to submergence or degradation due to tidal action.
“Climate change and sea level rise are real and present dangers. The CZMP offers an opportunity to plan for the decongesting of the coast. Other countries are doing that. We must start retreating from the sea and improving our natural safeguards against extreme sea-borne events,” said Pooja Kumar of Coastal Resource Centre.
Saravanan, whose village Urur Kuppam is already witnessing erosion, says “The CZMP should include a long-term housing plan for coastal communities as we are being squeezed by a seaward moving city and a land-ward moving tide.”
For More Information, contact – Pooja Kumar – 9791122180
Organized by – The Coastal Resource Centre, 92, 3rd Cross Street, Thiruvalluvar Nagar, Besant Nagar, Chennai 600090