Plea challenging Kalaignar Pen Monument filed in Supreme Court

Challenging the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to construct 134-feet high ‘Pen Monument’ in the memory of former Chief Minister and DMK supremo M. Karunanidhi at the Bay of Bengal in Chennai, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition has been filed in the Supreme Court.

The PIL filed by a few residents sought direction to the Tamil Nadu government and the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate to drop the project so that the structure does not damage the ecosystem and marine life along the coast of Marina beach.

It said fishermen across the coastal areas especially in Chennai would be affected by the State’s decision to construct the statue at Bay of Bengal, as it would adversely impact the livelihood of fishermen living in 32 fishing hamlets. The move also violates CRZ-IA, CRZ-II and CRZ-IVA and damage the ecosystem along the Marina beach, the petition stated.

The PIL added that the Tamil Nadu Public Works Department (PWD) approved the project while environmentalists have raised an alarm about potential damage to the coastal ecosystem. Construction of the pen statue in the sea when Chennai city has sufficient land space will impact the marine life, it pointed out.

“The proposed monument would be located around 360 metres into the Bay of Bengal from the Marina beach coast, the State sought permission under Section 4 (ii)(j) of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification amended in March 22, 2016.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had asked the State to submit the final Environment Impact EIA/EMA report within four years,” the plea added.

Earlier last week, in response to a case filed at the National Green Tribunal (NGT) against the proposed pen memorial, the Public Works Department said the project would be commenced only after obtaining all necessary clearances and permissions from various authorities, including the National Coastal Zone Management Authority (NCZMA) and the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).

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