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Why are people protesting to save Pulicat Lagoon against Adani port expansion in Chennai?

Located on the border of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the Pulicat Lagoon is known to be the second largest brackish water lagoon in India.

By Ground Report
New Update
Pulicat Lagoon importance

Located on the border of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the Pulicat Lagoon is known to be the second largest brackish water lagoon in India. The lagoon which spreads up to an area of 759 square kilometers, is situated at the Coromandel Coast, north of the city of Chennai. Pazhaverkadu, another name for the giant lagoon, is known for being a flamingo watching sight. In addition to this, the lagoon is also home to approximately 20,000 migratory birds and is famous for its amazing water activities. 

Lying at the borders of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, the Pulicat Lagoon is immensely rich in seafood and is known to be a major export center for the same. In addition to export of seafood, it is also acclaimed to house tiger prawns, finfish and jellyfish. With a legacy of approximately 600 years, the lagoon is of utmost significance to the natives of both the states. The lagoon serves around 17 villages around itself and is a major source of income for about 33,550 people

The people residing in and around the Pulicat Lagoon depend on fishing primarily. Thus, the lagoon is highly imperative for the occupants of that land. However, the pulicat region has been a disputed site which has been taken into control time and again. In the past, it was in this region that the city's first chemical industries and pharmaceutical factories were set up. But now, there lies a bigger threat to the biodiversity of the region. 

The Adani Port Limited, the biggest port developer in India, plans to expand its port area from 330 acres to almost 6,108 acres. The Adani Port Limited seeks to enlarge its port size across the L&T shipyard, delving deeper into the Kattupalli village. Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited invested a huge amount of INR 53,031 crore in the Kattupalli Port to expand its arena. As a reaction to this move made by the ADSEZ, the natives of Kattupalli have strongly opposed it. 

Pulicat Lagoon

The Adani Port has been spilling oil into the sea since January 2012. With the expansion of the port, a larger amount of oil would be spilled in the sea and will also require further reclamation of the water body which will lead the fishermen to go for deep-sea fishing. Deep-sea fishing is comparatively more expensive than ordinary fishing and not everyone working in this field can afford it. With the expansion of the Adani Port, almost 33,000 people will be displaced from their households and a large number of people will lose their sole livelihood. 

The residents of Pazhaverkadu have been protesting against this plan of port expansion as they fear that with their displacement from their original residence, they will have to spend more money for their daily commute to the sea. In addition to livelihood issues, the port expansion will also lead to a number of environmental problems as well. The expansion of the Adani Port will lead to the aggravation of the essential ecosystem of the region and with the erosion of sea in the northern side, the islands of Pulicat will be devastated. 

This process of expansion of the port claims approximately 2,000 acres of sea land which will be materialized by the ADSEZ by dumping dredged sand into the Palar River. However, the Pulicat Lagoon and the adjoining sea land plays a pivotal role in protecting the nearby areas from the threat of floods. The

dumping of sand into the reclaimed sea lands will lead to the exposure of a lot of northern Chennai cities to floods and may even cause mayhem in and around its neighboring areas. The protestors further demand that the shoreline of the lagoon should be declared as high eroding which would render the expansion illicit. 

Through such protests and rallies, citizens are demanding for development ambitions which are in sync with the biosphere of our country, and this is the reason why people are actively opposing the expansion of the Adani Port in the Kattupalli village. Even during the days of the pandemic, the natives were constantly voicing out their opinions against the expansion by quoting - Stop Adani, Save Pulicat.”

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