In its latest video, Put Chutney gives voice to the city and its landscape, to offer a simple message.

Youve drowned and killed me Listen to Chennai speak in this powerful Put Chutney videoScreenshot
Social Video Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - 15:07

Imagine if Chennai had a voice with which it could speak to its people? What would the land say to its people about how they treat it?

In its latest video, Put Chutney gives voice to the city and its landscape, to offer a simple message: To save Chennai’s life, to save the life of your families living there, we must save the Ennore Creek and its neighbouring lands from encroachment.

The video, shot in a stark and bleached black and white, shows a man speaking in Chennai’s voice, and asking the city’s people: “You can drown me and kill me. But can you kill the truth by submerging it in water?” The truth that he unfolds across the rest of the video is that it is the people who are responsible for drowning Chennai.

All of Chennai’s natural landscapes have been rampantly and heartlessly encroached and destroyed he says. “The hills have become quarries, the forests have become factories, the green fields have become hydrocarbon wells, the coasts have become real estate bungalows, and all the sands are being carried away in trucks,” he says.

In Ennore, which is the natural outlet for draining floodwater into the sea, more than 1,000 acres have disappeared, he says.

Pointing to the powerful real estate lobby in the city, he says, “Vallalar said, ‘Vaadiya payirgalai kandapodhellam vaadinein.’ (I withered and wasted away whenever I saw wasted crops/farms.) But now you've turned all my farmlands into flats and localities and call it Vallalar Nagar.”

Going back to the 2015 floods, he says the headlines then screamed that Chennai has drowned, and asks: “Did I drown? You were the ones who drowned me! You encroached on all the paths I had created for rainwater and flood water to flow into the sea, and drowned me.”

Speaking of Chennai’s least-known and largest river, the Kosasthaliyar river, he says, “That river that was four times the size of the Adyar and the Cooum, you snatched away bit by bit.”

And, he points out, it’s not as if the government is unaware of the problem. A Parliamentary Standing Committee, in 2016, urged the government to check the real estate mafia from illegal construction and encroachment on water bodies.

But, argues the video, “It is not the real estate mafia that has encroached Ennore, but public sector companies under the Central government,” referring to the Kamarajar Port, installations of Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum, and the NTECL power plant which have all taken over hundreds of acres of land.

“If more encroachments continue, then an even bigger flood than 2015 is coming to Chennai. And it doesn’t need any extraordinary rains, just the normal rainfall will be enough,” says the video.

“To save the little life of Chennai that’s left, to save your families’ lives, to keep them from being drowned, let us save Ennore,” it urges.

For more information, visit storyofennore.wordpress.com.

Also read: The Ennore tragedy: Thermal power plants have destroyed Chennai’s fishing communities

Explainer: Why Chennai needs to speak up to save the Ennore creek

Death by a thousand cuts: The story of Ennore, a creek lost to ‘development’

 

 

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