CHENNAI: Actor Kamal Haasan on Friday turned his focus on protecting the Ennore Creek, which serves as lifeline for fishermen in Chennai and Tiruvallur districts, asking people to pitch in and save Kosasthalai river if the Tamil Nadu government does not heed to the “alarm bell.” In a series of tweets, Kamal spoke about Kosasthalai river and how 1,090 acres from Ennore Creek have been lost due to “selfish encroachments done with no environmental concern”.
“The Vallur Thermal Plant and the North Chennai Thermal Power Plant continue to dump their ash in the Kosasthalai. The government has been indifferent to this though environmental activists have been protesting against these violations for years. Fisherfolk of the area working with other public are seeking to raise their voices but it's like blowing a horn into a dead man's ear,” the actor said. Environmentalists welcomed Kamal Haasan's call to people asking them to join the fishermen in protecting the creek.
They also pointed out that choking of the natural drainage systems was one of the major reasons for the unprecedented floods that Chennai witnessed in 2015 and if Ennore Creek is not cleaned or protected from further encroachment, another disaster would be waiting to happen. Noting that Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum add to the problem with their oil refineries that have built on the river, Kamal said work is on to encroach upon 1000 more acres of the creek in the guise of expanding Kamarajar Port Limited.
“Any state that does not give the poor the same help and priority that it gives to land dealers is like the riverbank that ignores a good river running by it,” the actor said. If steps are not taken right now to save the creek, heavy rains could cause property and even life loss to nearly 10 lakh people. “Hundred walkie-talkies and boats may be the way to save people who will be affected by the predicted rains in the short term but a good government should have a long-term plan for the betterment of people. This is not a critique of the mistake already committed,” he said.
“People can call a helpline number provided by the government when in trouble. But we are warning people and the government before trouble strikes. We hope people will heed this alarm bell, and in the event that the government does not, we hope that people will be able to set that right,” Kamal said....