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Fishermen obstruct dredging work

24 December 2008

Special Correspondent
The Hindu

CUDDALORE: Fishermen and women of Pettodai near Puduchathiram here gathered in strength on the seashore on Tuesday and obstructed Nagarjuna Oil Corporation Ltd from going ahead with dredging work.

They pointed out that the private company that was in the process of setting up an oil refinery in the area had put up a jetty there. The dredging was taken up to enable the vessels carrying crude oil to reach the jetty.

They voiced their apprehension that deepening the sea close to the shores would expose them to the danger of sea incursion.

In the post-tsunami context they were living in mortal fear and moreover the sea that turned rough often had drastically affected fishing operation and caused a deep dent in their earning capacity.

Hence, they would not allow any wanton destruction of the ecology in the area and felt that the dredging augured ill for the residents of the coastal area. They also laid the preconditions that the company in the first place put up a protective wall along the coast and also build permanent houses for them so as to ensure their safety.

They alleged that earlier the company had acquired the land for the refinery at a cheaper rate. The price was not agreeable to them and hence, urged the company to revise the price and hand over the difference amount without delay.

A posse of policemen led by Assistant Superintendent of Police Narendran Nair pacified them with the promise that further talks would be held on their demands on December 25.

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