18 November, 2013
In response to media coverage of Chennai fisherfolk’s demands that the CRZ public hearing slotted for 19 November be postponed until after the relevant documents are made available in Tamil, the Department of Environment has hurriedly uploaded Coastal Zone Management maps on its website at around 11.30 a.m. today. The maps are in English, and a document purporting to be an Executive Summary has also been uploaded. http://www.environment.tn.nic.in/iczmp-maps1.html
Curiously, though, the map pertaining to the central region of Chennai — namely, Fort, Tondiarpet, Triplicane and Mylapore Taluks — is fatally flawed. For example, Kamaraj Nagar, Kasturba Nagar and Adyar are all shown to be within the Adyar River. Urur-Olcott Kuppam, which is on the Northern end of Besant Nagar beach, is shown to be in MRC Nagar, at the location where the 5-star hotel Leela Kempinsky currently stands. Nochikuppam, the fishing village south of the Lighthouse is shown to be in the middle of Marina beach. The link to the Tamil Executive Summary takes one to a document that is in gibberish.
Annexure 1 of the CRZ Notification, 2011, lays out the guidelines for the preparation of the Coastal Zone Management Plans (CZMP) which are to be the subject of the statutory public hearing. According to these guidelines, CZMPs should contain detailed maps that highlight the high tide and low tide lines, the various CRZ Zones 1, 2, 3 and 4, and the proposed land-use plan for these various areas. The maps should also clearly demarcate the common areas that are used by fisherfolk, such as fish drying areas etc. The CZMPs are also expected to contain detailed plans prepared by the State Government for the long-term housing needs of fishing communities.
None of these details are available on the website, and what has been made available a day before the public hearing, is fatally flawed and inaccurate.
Given that essential documents are either missing or inaccurate, Save Chennai Beaches Campaign has requested the District Collector to rectify the matter and reschedule the public hearing after all documents are made available in Tamil and English.
For more information, contact: Nityanand Jayaraman: 9444082401