Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Saturday, December 23, announced that fishing families impacted by the oil spill in Ennore would receive relief aid of Rs 12,500 each. He further said that compensation of Rs, 10,000 would be given for repairing boats damaged by the spill. The spill, which occurred on December 4–the day Cyclone Michaung hit Chennai, caused devastation for more than 20,000 people living on the banks of the Buckingham Canal in Ennore.
The oil that had leaked out from a refinery owned by Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL) entered the sea through Ennore Creek, reaching 20 sq km into the Kasimedu Harbour in North Chennai. It is to be noted that the coastal area from Ennore to Kasimedu is densely populated with marine life and is a popular fishing area as well.
On December 23, fisherfolk from two more villages in Ennore, Chinnakuppam and Periyakuppam, staged protests demanding to be included in state government relief aid, as they too had suffered severe losses.
According to The Hindu, the protesters also demanded that the government replace their damaged boats saying that a compensation of Rs 12,500 would not suffice to repair the boats. A fisherman from Nettukuppam said that oil had seeped into their boats made of fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) and as temperatures rise in summer, the boats would disintegrate, he said.
TNM reported earlier this month on how CPCL had deployed fishermen to remove the oil spills themselves, but had neither given them adequate gear, protection or a contract to ensure medical assistance for risking their lives and health. The fishermen at the time of reporting had been using drums and mugs to remove the oil.
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