The rest of Chennai has to understand that their safety depends on Ennore as well.

Kamal Haasan focuses on Ennore creek ahead of monsoons other Chennaites should too
news Environment Friday, October 27, 2017 - 13:07

A day after he hinted at forming an anti-corruption platform to address issues that the state faces, actor Kamal Haasan has turned his attention to a more pressing matter at hand. In a series of tweets on Friday, the star joined the state's fisherfolk in their campaign to save the Ennore Creek, a backwater located in Thiruvallur district.

One of the major reasons that Chennai flooded as badly as it did in December 2015, is because all of its natural drainage systems – primarily the Ennore Creek – were choked, and the incessant rains kept adding to the volume of water that was draining out painfully slowly. Encroachment of the water body and unplanned building is unsurprisingly the culprits behind this.

However, Ennore Creek wasn’t killed overnight. What made its death invisible was the fact that it occurred over three decades, by acts of commission and omission.

With the monsoon fast approaching, the 'Ulaganayagan' has sought to address this crucial matter in his tweets.

"The Kosasthalai River near Chennai that has not yet turned into a drain still provides livelihood to fishermen. We have lost 1090 acres from the creek due to selfish encroachments done with no environmental concern. The Vallur Thermal Plant and the North Chennai Thermal Power Plant continue to dump their ash into the Kosasthalai," he states. "The government has been indifferent to this though environmental activists have been protesting against these violations for years. Fisherfolk of the area working with other public are seeking to raise their voices but it’s like blowing a horn into a dead man’s ear," he adds.

Fly ash caused by the North Chennai Thermal Power Station (NCTPS) and Vallur Thermal plant and dumping of earth by the Kamarajar Port has severely affected the salt pans, wetlands and mangroves in the region. In addition to this, the Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum lends to the problem with their oil refineries that have been built on the river. And to make matters worse, the government is yet to learn its lesson even after the 2015 debacle.

"I hear that the work is on to encroach upon 1000 more acres of the creek in the guise of expanding Kamarajar Port Limited. Any state that does not give the poor the same help and priority that it gives to land dealers is like the riverbank that ignores a good river running by it. North Chennai will be flooded even if there are normal rains like last year," warns Kamal Haasan.

The actor then goes on to tell his followers to not wait for the government to act but to go ahead and set things right themselves. The Coastal Resource Centre, which has been taking on the Tamil Nadu Government in the fight to save the Ennore creek, appeals to Chennai's residents to understand the larger impact that this encroachment will cause.

"The rest of Chennai has to understand that their safety depends on Ennore as well. In 2015, floods stopped the functioning of the Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited in Manali and the city suffered as a result," explains Pooja Kumar of the Coastal Resource Centre. "To make matters worse the encroachments are by the Government which is well aware of the danger it is putting people in," she adds.

The Centre is organising a human chain at Besant Nagar beach on October 28 to further their campaign to save the Ennore creak. "When we have more people participating in the efforts, it more likely that the government will hear our voice," says Pooja.

Fisherfolk meanwhile have expressed gratitude to actor Kamal Haasan for bringing up the issue on a public platform and creating dialogue about a crucial environmental issue.  

 

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