False Claims

The project proponent and its consultants have sought clearance for the project by making false claims and presenting falsified data to justify the siting of the project. The laws stipulated by the Government of India have been subtly circumvented under the guise of ‘Expert Advice’, without authentic scientific due diligence. A list of the most glaring lies and the actual truths is presented in the table below:

LIES

TRUTH

There are no sensitive ecosystems, including estuaries, in the vicinity of the project

The site is surrounded by sensitive ecosystems (all within 10 km radius of the project) – sand dunes, kazhiveli (lagoons), mangroves and seagrass – are all identified as ecologically sensitive in the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011.

There are no areas containing scarce resources such as surface or ground water in the vicinity of the project.

The area is dotted with nearly a 100 tanks, ponds and waterbodies, including the Vedaleri, Chittarkadu eri, Arkadu eri, Boothoor eri, Palaiyur eri, and several Vanchi kulams (spring-fed ponds)

The site is barren, and has minimum agricultural land.

Agriculture is the mainstay of the local economy. More than 70 percent of the land to be acquired is agriculture, and most of it is patta land.

Panaiyur was chosen as the site for the port based on an inspection by a multi-departmental team.

The teams that visited Panaiyur rejected it because of the presence of dunes.

The 650 metre shorefront proposed to be used for the port is empty and unused by local fisherfolk.

Fishermen from Chinnakuppam and Periakuppam use the above shorefront. People from inland villages too use the beach for shore-based fishing using hook and line, and hand cast nets.

The local seas are not significant fishing grounds. All villages in the vicinity, including Tharuthazhaikuppam, Chinnakuppam, Periakuppam and Kadapakkam together only land 50 tonnes of fish per month.

At least 8 villages – from Paramankenikuppam to Alhambraikuppam – are entirely dependent on the local seas. Several thousands of people, including people from as far off as Kalpakkam, fish in the kazhivelis during the monsoon. This cannot be dismissed as insignificant. The 13 launch boats in Kadapakkam alone catch a minimum of 3 tons daily (or about 90 tons/month).

There are no fish breeding or feeding grounds in the vicinity of the project site.

The Mudaliarkuppam estuary and the Alhambrai estuary are important sites for fish breeding. Further, the seagrass and mangrove ecosystems of Yedayanthittu/Alhambrai estuary are recognised as ecologically sensitive also owing to their role as feeding grounds for fish.

The fisherfolk in the area are only artisanal. Industrial or mechanised fishing is not prevalent.

At least 15 mechanised boats operate at Alhambrai. All boats, including artisanal boats, catch export-quality fish, which is routinely picked up by traders that visit all the kuppams. In any case, the fact that fishing is only artisanal is to be celebrated as artisanal fisheries are far more sustainable than industrial

fishing.

The project will only have a localised effect, and will not affect fisheries production of the state.

The project will affect not just marine fisheries, but also Cheyyur Taluk’s substantial inland fisheries. It is shocking that while the project proponent admits that the project will have a local effect, it dismisses this as insignificant since only this region’s fisherfolk will be sacrificed and that the State will not even notice it. The fish from this region is exported and sent to distant markets in Chennai, Pondicherry and Kerala. Contamination of fish is not merely a local problem.

There are no mangroves, seagrass beds near the project area.

The Alhambrai estuary and Yedaianthittu lagoon both within 10 km of the project site, have mangroves and seagrass.

The number of “migratory birds” in Cheyyur Lagoon is “negligible.”

A 20-year study done by a Pondicherry-based birdwatcher has recorded upto 22,000 birds in the lagoon on one occasion. The Alhambrai estuary and Yedaianthittu kazhiveli, near Marakkanam is part of the Kaluvelli tank complex, which is an internationally recognised bird area. Birds from faraway countries, including Siberia come here in winter months.

There are no sand dunes in the project area for the port, and the land where the port is set to come up is entirely flat.

The port site, and most of the route taken by the coal conveyor and stormwater drain will be over sand dunes.

Nesting of Olive Ridley sea turtles is only sporadic, and no nests were observed in the nesting season of 2010-2011 in the Panaiyur beaches, according to a study conducted by NIOT.

A study conducted by Tree Foundation, Chennai, found 1217 eggs in 15 nests in a 3 km stretch of beach starting from Periakuppam in the 2010-2011 nesting season.

The shoreline at Panaiyur is “fairly stable.”

A study by the Ministry of Environment & Forests concludes that Panaiyur beach is prone to erosion.

Mercury emissions to air are 1.1 mg per day.

The power plant could end up releasing up to 46 kg of mercury into the air if run on Australian coal. To put things in perspective, 1 gram of mercury is sufficient to contaminate a 25 acre lake.

For a detailed report on the fallacies and lies stated by the proponent and its consultants, download the Cheyyur Lies Reportfrom the Resources section.

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One thought on “False Claims

  1. viji

    cheyyur and more over marakkanam area are highly eco sensitive area. Kaliveli wet land closer to marakkanam is one of the biggest natural fresh water body which is not known to genral public.I have a full report on this wet land given by higest authority which protects these natural wonders.Give me ur Email id i will forward this to u for your support.

    Reply

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