The settlements practicing paadu have experienced an influx of fishermen displaced because of the Shriharikota space station and the Kalpakkam atomic power plant. The Shriharikota Rocket Space Landing Station has been built on a small natural island in the midst of Pulicat, displacing three fishing villages. The project also involved building a road with a bridge right across the lagoon, which has had an impact on the ecosystem. Since under the paadu system access to outside fishermen is strictly restricted, many violent conflicts emerge between the outside fishermen and the paadu fishermen. Between 1985 and 2000, about twelve fisherfolk died in such conflicts.
North Chennai Thermal Power Station (NCTPS) drew 44 lakh litres of freshwater from Ennore creek and released hot coolant water into Buckingham canal and discharged about 3000 tonnes of toxic fly-ash in the form of slurry every day. The release out of hot coolant water at temperatures of about 40°C led to oxygen depletion and death of aquatic life. The combination of coolant water and fly-ash has had a serious impact on the livelihood of people by depleting fish populations. Following talks between the fishermen and government officials, a total strike and a blockage of the creek by the fishermen, the NCTPS devised a system of reusing the hot water that it releases, and it was no longer necessary to discharge hot water into the lagoon. It is not clear if this system is efficient for the NCTPS and whether this will continue.
Kattupalli island is a narrow longitudinal island separated from the mainland by the backwaters extending from the Pulicat lake. The island is bordered by the Bay of Bengal on the east, Buckingham canal on the west, Pulicat Lake on the north and Ennore creek on the south. The island has a rich biodiversity of vegetation, especially mangroves, freshwater and brackishwater flora and fauna, and medicinal plants, and it supports a human population of about 2250 families. The Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) had planned to establish a Rs 6000 crore petrochemical complex on this island with the idea that the Ennore port would be used for transporting the products. TIDCO went ahead with the acquisition of land of 2,900 ha even before the public hearing under Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) rules was held. The state government had directed the district collector to invoke Section 17(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, which is an emergency provision. They sought to acquire farmlands, wetlands, salt-pan areas, and private and peramboke (wasteland) land. The people of Kattupalli and Pulicat were vehemently opposed to this—they knew the impact that this project would have and therefore decided to oppose it. The local community approached Coastal Action network (CAN) for help in this matter, which resulted in them filing a writ petition and participating in the project public hearing.