Illegal Roads Are Choking Chennai’s Coastline
This road is just one among many ‘illegal’ roads between Thiruvanmiyur and Muttukadu, which are wrecking the livelihood of fishermen and the natural ecology, according to activists. The illegal roads running over a 5.8-km stretch are affecting migratory birds, crabs and sea turtles, and 17 fishermen villages that exist near the roads. The fishermen blame the Chennai Corporation for its ignorance and inaction.
‘Wake Up’ Chennai Corporation
Chennai Corporation’s responses to Right to Information queries reveal that the roads at Kottivakam, Palavakkam and Neelangarai are not “approved roads”. But neither the Corporation nor the State Coastal Zone Management Authority has come forward to undo the illegality even in the face of repeated complaints.
According to documents gathered by the Coastal Research Centre, about 10 illegal sea side roads have been laid down by civic bodies.
Their ire at the Chennai Corporation evident as both fisherfolk and activists believe the corporation being a statutory body responsible for construction in Chennai, should have prohibited building illegal roads.
Akila Balu, part of the Student’s Sea Turtle Conservation Network said sea turtles make nests on the sea shores, and because of these roads they start walking towards these roads and end up either being eaten by dogs or crushed by cars. Most of the hatchlings also do not survive in these conditions. The number of dolphins and migratory birds have reduced over the last few years.
Crowding along the coast increases the vulnerability of the area to extreme weather events such as cyclone, affects the ecology and destroys livelihoods, but the Chennai Corporation seems to be napping.