Civil society groups ask state to release fishers now in jail for questioning process of alloting new flats off Marina

Civil society groups have petitioned the chief minister and the chairman of the TN Urban Habitat Development Board to release from jail four fishermen of Nochikuppam, located off the Marina beach, who were arrested by police recently when they questioned and protested against what they say is arbitrary allotment of new flats that have been built for fishers in plots of the old blocks.

The petition also asks that flats be allotted to fishers as per the agreement and not to residents of other kuppams as is said to have been done, causing friction.

The four fishers and the activists say that –

The tenements that are the subject of controversy and conflict are 1188 houses constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – 2015; for Nochikuppam, Nochinagar residents and their expanded families. However, out of the 1188 houses earmarked for these two hamlets, only 108 was allotted to designated residents; 216 homes were handed to residents from other areas creating conditions of unnecessary bitterness and conflict among fishers.

Fishers are accusing Mylapore MLA Dha Velu of interfering in the flats allocation process agreed on by the Habitat Board and of alloting some flats to residents of another kuppam.

Besides seeking release of the detained fishers, the activists ask for the following –

  1. Allot the promised housing to Nochikuppam and Nochinagar villages
    Address the immediate housing needs of the residents of Loop Road by providing in-situ housing.
    Comply with the CRZ notification by preparing and publishing long-term housing plans for and CZMPs that earmark and protect the livelihood commons of the fishers along the entire coast of Tamil Nadu.

This issue comes against the backdrop of the recent legal case heard by the Madras High Court on clearing fish hawkers from Marina Loop Road and restraining them only to the modern fish market that is now being built here.

  • Photo shows civic workers clearing hawker stalls on Marina Loop Road which had encroached. Mid-April 2023
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