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Chennai based NGO says Kamarajar port has encroached on lands adjoining Ennore creek backwaters

Ahead of the visit of Home Minister Amit shah's visit to Chennai the save Ennore creek campaign released a report which alleged that around 700 acres of Kosasthalai river's backwaters have been encroached by central and state government undertakings including the Kamarajar Port Ennore during the last five years.

Requesting the Union Home Minister to withdraw his endorsement of Kamarajar Port, the organisers of the campaign added that the port had single-handedly eaten into 114 acres of the Ennore wetland and urged the Central government to abandon any schemes in the region, involving diversion of wetlands.

Earlier this month, KPL fined Rs 4 crore for illegally encroaching in the wetlands

Earlier this month, the KPL was fined Rs 4 crore for illegally encroaching in the wetlands by dumping contaminated sand and smothering mangroves

The report was released ahead of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to the city to inaugurate a new berth in Kamarajar Port. It also stated that the Central PSUs, including Kamarajar Port (KPL),  NTECL Vallur and Bharat Petroleum (BPCL), had converted 417 acres into industrial real estate since 2015

The report added that Adani Ports had proposed for an eight-fold expansion of the Kattupalli Port, which involves creation of 2,000 acres of land inside the sea, and over 1,000 acres of land by encroaching on the Ennore-Pulicat wetlands. “Interfering with the Kosasthalai river’s wetlands is a dangerous proposition,” the report warned.

Satellite images of various water bodies revealed industrial, commercial or dumping encroachments in the water bodies

Satellite images of various water bodies and wetlands in the backwaters were included in the report which contrasted the images of 2015 with that of 2020, revealing industrial, commercial or dumping encroachments in the water bodies.

Chennai-based activists from the campaign said that they have sent a copy of the report along with a letter to Shah, drawing his attention to the encroachments that endanger the lives of people living in the region.

Over 10 lakh people living across four Assembly constituencies – Ponneri, Madhavaram, RK Nagar and Thiruvottiyur – will face heightened risks of disastrous flooding due to the encroachments, read a statement from the campaign organisers.

The Centre must adopt a long-term outlook

“Sagarmala, Bharatmala and Make in India projects have destroyed the Ennore-Pulicat wetlands, and impoverished fisherfolk. The Centre must adopt a long-term outlook and see the wisdom in maintaining wetlands, especially tidal water bodies, that will protect the region from floods, salinity intrusion and sea level rise,” reads the letter addressed to Shah.

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