Posted on January 30, 2024
CHENNAI: With the indefinite protest launched by Ennore residents following the oil spill and Ammonia gas leak entering the 32nd on Saturday, Ennore Makkal Paathukappu Kuzhu, a collective of 33 villages protesting against Coromandel fertiliser plant, released a road map for the restoration of wetland.
“Even though we started protesting after the ammonia gas leak, our plight is not restricted to the plant alone. Our immediate demand is to close the fertilizer plant to prevent any untoward incidents and restore the larger Ennore area to its past glory,” said Kumaravel, a member of the protesting committee.
In addition to the interventions from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and the government, the protesting committee is taking up citizen-led initiatives to highlight their issue.
A public hearing by an expert committee was organised on January 1. The committee had recommended the government to look into the immediate and the long term measures to be undertaken in Ennore. The report also urged the government to implement the 2022 NGT order which directed the government to take measures for remediation of the ash impacted wetlands and notify the full extent of the Ennore wetlands based on the approved 1996 Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) map.
The action plan was prepared by the coastal research centre in Chennai with inputs from experts and people of Ennore. It was released by retired high court judges S Muralidhar, K Kannan and D Hariparandhaman.
Terming the recent incidents in Ennore as ecological failure, S Muralidhar said it is a collective failure of the all the authorities concerned. “People’s protest across the country are labelled as anti-development. It needs a sensitive government to look into their plight,” he further added.
Justice D Hariparandhaman said the state government should take the recent incidents as a warning sign and protect the fragile ecology of the Ennore Creek.
The residents also alleged the CSR funds of the companies in Ennore are not spent for their welfare. “Government should audit the CSR spending of the companies and use them for welfare of the people in affected villages,” said Mahesh, a member of the protesting committee.
The judges also requested the government to include people’s representatives in their eco restoration project. The retried judges will head a advisory committee of the people and three sub committees will also be formed to support the government in their interventions.