Foreshore Estate fishermen up in arms

Chennai: The Madras High Court recently directed the State government as well as the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) to consider reconstructing a road connecting Pattinapakkam to Besant Nagar.

The direction was issued after the two-judge bench cited the congestion at the DGS Dinakaran Salai, as the main reason. This is the stretch where Ministers and other top government official reside and it will see heavy traffic congestion every morning and evening during peak hours. It is believed that the congestion can be eased if an alternative road is constructed connecting Pattinapakkam and Besant Nagar.

Earlier fishermen were using a road that connected Pattinapakkam with Besant Nagar directly, which is popularly known today as Broken Bridge and a flood damaged it completely. Now the proposal to reconstruct it has not got down well with the people particularly local fisherman.

”Already we are in fear of our livelihood which could be affected with the beautification drive planned on the Marina Loop Road and now with this road being planned it will further cause damage to the livelihood of the fisherman residing at the other side of the Adyar river bank. For the sake of development why are our livelihood being targeted?, Rani,” a fish vendor says.

The Loop Road itself was not a regular road earlier and we used it as a connecting stretch to the slum here. The people of the slum also used the road as a market to sell fishes but suddenly, one day the Corporation said that they would allow vehicles here to ease traffic congestion on the Santhome High Road. Slowly it became a permanent road and it was widened a lot which has affected our livelihood. Now the reconstruction of the Broken Bridge would again give rise to the big issue, said Vincent, a fisherman.

Deepak, a resident of Santhome says, “Some areas near the coast come under the coastal zone regulation where no construction are supposed to take place. However the plan to reconstruct the Broken Bridge may violate the regulation as it runs on the coast and also it could affect the fishermen community living there. Any development activity must happen without causing damage to the environment as well as the livelihood and it would be better if some oter alternative is decided rather than reconstructing the Broken Bridge. ”

The road close to the Besant Nagar Beach currently looks good with numerous eateries and with not many vehicles plying through the stretch its a perfect spot to hangout during weekends and if the Broken Bridge is reconstructed it would definitely spoil the current beauty prevailing at Besant Nagar as lot of vehicles would ply in the stretch. It would be better if the plan is halted,he added.

NT Bureau