January 20, 2022

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Close or shift thermal power plants, say Ennore fisherfolk

Close or shift thermal power plants, say Ennore fisherfolk

Fisherfolk of 32 hamlets in Ennore on Thursday called for shutting down or shifting the polluting thermal power stations that spread harmful fly ash in their area for over four decades now.

They questioned the rationale behind allowing their area to be polluted by the power stations while generating power for the development of the rest of the State.

“The fly ash is everywhere, in the air we breathe, the water we drink and even on the food we consume. When we dry fish outside, the ash forms a layer on it. When we return home from work, our people are covered with fly ash and even when it rains, the water washes down as a dark slurry due to ash deposited everywhere. Knowingly, we are feeding poison to our children,” said Rajathi of Sivanpadaiveedu while urging the government to provide them with safe drinking water.

The residents were expressing their anguish at a public hearing convened by members of a joint expert committee constituted by the Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal to prepare a detailed project report for remediation of fly ash from Ennore and to prepare a report detailing damages caused to the river basin.

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A resident of Kattupalli panchayat said that each time a project was proposed in the area, including the ports and thermal power plants, local people were always promised jobs and that their environment would be safeguarded. “They make this promise before the District Collector. But we do not get any jobs and our ecosystem is damaged. We keep filing cases and saying no to projects during public hearings. However, our voices remain unheard,” she said.

Fisherfolk leader Ko. Su. Mani said they had been protesting since the 1990s. “People used to be affluent in Ennore and the prawns caught here used to be exported. However, now with hot water and fly ash let into the water, the fishermen are not able to net anything for their own consumption,” he said.

Patient hearing

Members of the committee, headed by Santha Sheela Nair, comprising Balaji Narasimhan and Indumathi Nambi, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT- Madras; D. Narasimhan, Madras Christian College, and Jayashree Venkatesan of Care Earth, heard the residents patiently.

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Ms. Nair said the committee had been formed to look at the possibilities of remediation of fly ash. She welcomed suggestions from residents regarding how fly ash can be dealt with and said a fair report would be submitted to the NGT.

Doonited Affiliated: Syndicate News Hunt

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