Published: 23rd January 2021
Over 500 Chennai school students write to TN CM EPS asking him to stop Pulicat port expansion project
As part of their #SavePulicat campaign, the students, under the guidance of teacher and environmentalist M Yuvan, have made several videos and created artwork to spread the word
Around 500 students from schools across Chennai have written to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami seeking a rejection of the proposed mega port project near the Pulicat lake. The students in their letter, say that the project is capable of causing various harmful socio-economic impacts. As part of their c, the students, under the guidance of teacher and environmentalist M Yuvan, have made several videos and created artwork to spread the word.
"Around 50,000 families in the Tiruvallur district rely on the Pulicat Lake. The three villages of Urnambedu, Senganimedu and Kattur host large cattle economies that are primarily run by women. The building of the port will pose an impending danger to water resources, deteriorate the natural ecosystem and contribute to the erosion of beaches," reads the letter.
Maya K, a XI grader and a student of Yuvan's, says that she did not know about the issue until she read Yuvan's social media posts about it. "The area isn't too far from Chennai and I had no clue about this project. But after we got to know, a few classmates and I thought we must do something about this. So, we started delegating work among ourselves and expanded a campaign," she says. "While some of us drew images, the others wrote letters. Everyone did their bit," says Aaryaman Girish, another XI grader.
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Maya says that as part of the next phase, the students plan to interact with the local communities who live in the idea, get their perspective and work along with them to stop the project. "The port expansion could put around 10 lakh people, across four constituencies, at risk of disastrous flooding. Due to sea ingress triggered by port-building, Chennai also stands to lose about one-fourth of its water security due to this project," the letter says. "Now it is high time for the authorities to listen. Even the youngest of people are speaking up for this," Maya adds.
Recently, the government had postponed a public hearing on this matter from January 22. Yuvan regards this as a success of the campaign. "A small win. A spanner in the works for the port proposal. Thank you - artists, students, people who sent emails, signed letters, all who helped spread awareness," he wrote on Instagram. Of the prominent figures who have joined this campaign is young climate change activist Licypriya Kangujam.
The second-largest brackish water lagoon in India, the lake is spread over Tamil Nadu and parts of Andhra Pradesh. The port expansion project has been facing a lot of flak from activists across the country.