The Corporation of Chennai and suburban coastal local bodies have laid 5.8 km of illegal roads between Thiruvanmiyur and Muttukadu, according to a report released by the Coastal Resource Centre. The report documents 10 illegal sea side roads laid by the civic bodies. The report was released today at a press conference attended by fisherfolk representatives from Kottivakkam, Thiruvanmiyur, Urur Kuppam and Srinivasapuram along with members of citizen group ‘Save Chennai Beaches’.
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
The Corporation’s Rs. 55 crore beach beautification plan has run afoul of the Chennai fisherfolk who said the project eats into their livelihood spaces and violates the CRZ Notification.The fisherfolk made it clear that no further diversion of beach spaces used for livelihood would be permitted until a comprehensive Coastal Zone Management Plan incorporating their customary land uses and a long-term fisher housing plan was prepared as per the CRZ Notification, 2011.Countering the Corporation’s claims about public consultation, the fishers said that neither the Fisheries Department, nor the village or fisher cooperative society administration had any knowledge about the project until they were informed by an NGO recently.According to the fishers, who had analysed a copy of the Draft Detailed Project Report, more than 3.6 acres of beach sand in Kottivakkam,Palavakkam and Neelangarai will be built over to create parking lots, tennis courts and yoga platforms. These areas are vital livelihood spaces, as fishermen use it for hauling the shoreseine nets and for mending and drying nets, they said. In Neelangarai and Kottivakkam, community structures like toilets and volleyball courts are also being taken over.The project’s proposal to restrict boat parking to a small beach stretch in front of each village’s residential area has not gone down well with the fisherfolk. “Boats cannot be parked within such a small stretch. Boat parking space of each village always extends beyond the residential area but stays within the boundaries of customary land-use by fishers from that village,” said K.Saravanan of Coastal Resource Centre.Pointing to a 26 cent beach area in Chinna Neelangarai where various constructions are proposed, the fisher representatives said that the plot was less than 10 metres from the High Tide Line. Any construction in this plot would be in clear violation of the CRZ rules, they said.They pointed out that Chennai Corporation and the CMDA have turned a blind eye towards blatant violations by farmhouses and resorts along the Chennai Coast. Given the number of violations and future development plan on beach areas, the total land available for use by the traditional communities will be lost and all prospects for future long-term housing will be harmed, they said. Referring to a July 2011 directive by the State Coastal Zone Management Authority to the Corporation to identify and act against CRZ violations, the fishers pointed out that no progress had been made on this task. Fisher representatives from various hamlets in Chennai addressed the press conference organised by Coastal Resource Centre of The Other Media.
See the Land Use Map that the community at Chinna Neelangarai have prepared here – N Final Print
For more information, contact: K. Saravanan: 9176331717.
Coastal Resource Centre.
No. 92, 3rd Cross, Thiruvalluvar Nagar, Besant Nagar,