June 2017

Tamil Nadu: Manappad beach to get facelift

THOOTHUKUDI: The Manappad beach in Thoothukudi district is to get a facelift under the Centrally sponsored 'Swadeshi Darshan scheme'.Works are to commence soon at Manappad beach in Thoothukudi districtat the cost of `6 crore, as the Modi regime had already sanctioned `100 crore under ‘Swadeshi Darshan’ scheme. According to Mr. Sreenivasan, tourismofficer, priority under the ‘Swadeshi Darshan’ scheme would be accorded on maintaining the beach clean and free from encroachments. However the beautification of the beach would not be neglected in the development projects,” added the tourism officer. The projects proposed for the development of Manappad beach also include landscaping by manipulating the shore area to enhance its aesthetic attraction, he said.

Further sign boards, CCTV cameras, car parking and toilet facilities are to be created under the Swadeshi darshan scheme. “To ensure the safety of the tourists at the Manappad beach, a search and rescue boat too would be stationed permanently under the Central scheme,” added the district tourism officer, who too said that the renovation plans would be implemented in strict adherence to the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) norms and hence the fisher community need not worry that the developmental projects to be taken up would disturb the sea environment.

It is to be noted that the Manappad beach already has facilities to organise water sports events like sea surfing, kite boarding, kayaking, wind surfing and stand up paddle events. Such events have been organised there for the past three years in the month of February. The Manakudi beach ravaged by the

Asian Tsunami 13 years ago in Kanniyakumari district, Rameswaram beach, Mamallapuram beach and the famous Elliots beach in Chennai too are to be developed under the centrally sponsored ‘Swadeshi Dharshan’ scheme in the state.

Chennai flood case presented at workshop on Climate Change in Asia

Growing recognition and interest on climate change as a political and ethical issue has become a scope of discussion in the recent past. The poor and the vulnerable that have generally contributed the least to the climate crisis are hit the hardest.

Highlighting issues on justice, Climate Change Desk (CCD) of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) Office of Human Development organised conference workshop on June 11-12, 2017 at Bangkok. This served as a culminating activity of the climate change research project undertaken by CCD in the year 2016.

The research followed “Case study approach” involving sites in Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Philippines and Viet Nam. Research themes focused on, extreme weather events and farming, urban flooding, sea-level rise and the coastal communities, drought and livelihoods in the upland, indigenous culture and forest conservation, renewable energy use, and disaster-risk reduction and interfaith collaboration.

This conference workshop was a combination of technical inputs and case studies presentation on impacts and good practices and interactive discussion. The overall goal of this two-day event was to help sustain the gained momentum and contribute in turning knowledge and established collaborations into more strategic and collective climate actions in the region. Brainstorming and planning sessions that explored potential partnerships gave suggestions to FABC to formulate a roadmap and a regional climate change strategy in Asia. It was concluded that the poor and the vulnerable that have generally contributed the least to the climate crisis are hit the hardest and hence climate change should be a political and ethical issue.

No new projects in Ennore creek: Former HC judge

CHENNAI: The Ennore Creek, the biggest one on the outskirts of Chennai, has been encroached upon by various state and central public sector undertakings. This was brought to light by the Coastal Resource Centre, which managed to secure the government of India approval Coastal Regulation Zone map for the region.
The approved map identifies 8,000 acres as the creek's water spread area, where no development is permitted. Around 1,090 acres of land from the creek had already been encroached upon by thermal power plants, a port and oil companies. Any wetland larger than 1,200 acres will automatically get protected under the Wetland Rules 2010.
Speaking to reporters here about the role of the creek, former Madras high court judge D Hariparanthaman said the excess water from the Kosasthalayar, the Araniar and the Puzhal lake get drained into the sea through the creek. When the water spread area of the creek is encroached, it results in flooding in other areas.
"When poor people encroach upon water bodies, the judiciary order the authorities to clear the people to protect the water body," he said.
No new projects should be allowed in the creek area. The creek also does the job of protecting the ground water. If the creek was disturbed, the saline water will enter and the ground water table would become saline, he cautioned.
Former member of the National Green Tribunal R Nagendran said for taking up any development activity in a creek area, the companies have to obtain both coastal zone and environment clearances. In the case of Ennore Creek, no such clearance was obtained from the government departments. "When the original characters of the creek is changed, they become disaster zones," he said.

All mega projects sail into 1,090 acres of troubled waters

CHENNAI: State and Central government entities have converted over 1,000 acres of the ecologically sensitive Ennore creek — and have more in the pipeline — in violation of mandatory procedures, alleged activists on Friday in a revelation that raises serious concerns.

The creek’s 8,000-acre water spread area is classified as CRZ-1 (Coastal Regulation Zone), where development is strictly regulated, according to Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) of 1996. As per CRZ notification, this is the only approved map, and the state and district coastal zone management authorities have to refer to it while appraising all applications seeking clearance.

In two separate RTI responses to Coastal Resource Centre, an NGO, the Tiruvallur district Coastal Zone Management Authority (CZMA) and the State CZMA have revealed that neither has a copy of the approved map for Ennore creek. The district authority admitted that it relied solely on the maps submitted by the project proponents.

“The CZMP of 1996 has so far been kept under the carpet. Major establishments like Kamarajar Port and the thermal power plants have got clearances based on unapproved maps prepared by their consultants. This is a serious violation by State and Central public sector undertakings,” said Nityanand Jayaraman of Save Ennore Creek Campaign.

Some of the activities like port and oil storage containers are permitted in CRZ-1, but the basis on which the clearances were obtained was wrong.

Kamarajar Port is now converting 280 acres of waterbody into land for a coal yard, TANGEDCO is also dumping sand and blocking the creek to construct a coal conveyor belt for the Ennore Thermal Power Station and Bharat Petroleum is building a storage facility on 102 acres of the wetland. “Such activities are strictly prohibited in CRZ-1 and clearances can’t be granted as per the CZMP approved in 1996.”