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.”

Flora, fauna hit by oil spill recovering slowly

While there are still some sediments left of the oil spill in Ennore, flora and fauna are recovering slowly and the coast of Chennai is returning to normalcy, according to the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM).

The NCSCM, which is monitoring how the oil spill has impacted flora and fauna along the coast, last week conducted its review of the regions affected by the nearly 200-tonne oil spill off the Kamarajar Port in Ennore following the collision of two cargo ships in late January.

The NSCSM carried out its environmental and ecological impact study from January 30 to March 2. The study was done along the coast and offshore with actual on-field data, and modelling and remote sensing data.

The institute submitted its report to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) recently.

Various zones

A copy of the report, which is available with The Hindu, classified the impact of the oil spill into various impact zones.

The report says the region between Ennore and Marina beach is a ‘High Impact Zone’ (Zone 2), while the region from the south of Marina beach to Kovalam is classified as a ‘Moderate to Low Impact Zone’ (Zone 3). The region between Pulicat and Ennore is classified ‘Low Impact’ (Zone 1) and the ‘least impact zone’ was found to be Kovalam to Mahabalipuram (Zone 4).

Across all these zones, Olive Ridey turtles were found to be affected, though the report added a rider that turtle mortality could not be directly correlated to the effects of oil spill.

“Most of the dead turtles were washed ashore from by-catch/entanglement in fishing nets during peak nesting season [January 2017] along the Chennai coast,” the report said.

CRZ Norms: Fearing loss of homes and livelihood, Mumbai fishermen meet minister, seek demarcation of koliwadas

With the government planning to relax the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) norms for constructions along the sea, members of the fishing community opposed to the move met Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil Tuesday to voice their concerns.
Representatives of the community reiterated their demand that the city’s 38 koliwadas be mapped and demarcated as CRZ III at the earliest, to pave the way for their makeover into new-age fishing colonies.
Following Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s announcement on April 24 about the Centre agreeing to relaxing conditions for the redevelopment of coastal slums in Mumbai, the fishing community has decided to intensify their fight over the issue of demarcating koliwadas.
The community, which has been struggling to save their traditional livelihood for decades, now fears losing their homes and livelihood to private builders and developers.
Located on some prime land of the city, the koliwadas are protected under the CRZ III, according to the community. “Relaxing CRZ norms would mean no more protection to koliwadas and land will automatically be thrown open to private developers. We are in favour of development but not at the cost of our livelihood. If the city develops, we should rightfully get our share,” said Rajhans Tapke, general secretary of the Koli Mahasangh and resident of Versova koliwada.
The fishermen pointed to real estate development in Juhu’s Moragaon koliwada dominated by the Mangela community. In the past decade, the locals have seen an engineering college, a hotel, a big residential colony and many villas come up around them.

A Rare, Pristine Estuary Comes Under Threat in Karnataka

The construction of a multi-purpose estuarine port in the Aghanashini – one Karnataka’s last free-flowing rivers – will result in damage to the ecosystem and the loss of traditional livelihoods.

Tadadi, Karnataka: When the tides are low at the mouth of the Aghanashini river, women from the village walk out onto the mudflats to collect oysters and mussels. Salt pans and mangroves outline the estuary, and in the distance is the busy fishing port at Tadadi.