With sea erosion continuing to wreak havoc in several parts of the coastal region in Kerala, the people living along the coastal stretch are up in arms against the government’s apathy in the construction of sea wall at vulnerable regions. The strong resentment of the coastal people was reflected at Valiyathura in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday when the people in the coastal hamlet protested against Kerala Water Resources Minister K Krishnankutty when he visited the area to take stock of the monsoon havoc.
The people at Valiyathura staged a protest against the minister for the undue delay in constructing sea wall. When Krishnankutty reached Valiyathura to take stock of the havoc caused by sea erosion, the people surrounded him and demanded immediate solution to the issue. This led to a tussle between the people and the police.
This is not the first instance where the people have come out against the government for the delay in constructing the sea wall. On Wednesday, the residents in Chellanam in Kochi blocked Ernakulam Collector from visiting the area which has been under threat of erosion.
Two days back the National Highway at Allapuzha was blocked by the people in protest against the delay in construction of sea wall.
With sea rising and high waves lashing the shore, about 200 houses have been damaged across the state. The people say that more houses would be damaged if rains continue for many more days. “The monsoon has only begun and the coming days will see more rains and more waves, which means the coming days are going to be harsh,’ they said.
On sea wall issue, the people in the coastal hamlets say that it was a long pending demand. The people in the coastal region point out that the government should have taken the initiative for constructing and repairing the sea walls much earlier. Most of the time, the governments do not take up the matter on a timely basis, they alleged.
Noting that the present government or the previous government have not taken serious steps in addressing the issue, National Fish Workers Forum General Secretary T Peter opined that the government should think of rehabilitating the people in the coastal region. “Rehabilitation is the only way to save the people from sea erosion, which has now become a continuous process in all rainy seasons. We have been demanding the government for coming up with a rehabilitation package for the coastal people,” he said.
He also alleged that the funds that was now been allowed for the coastal districts was of no use. “Instead the government should think of a concrete plan combining scientific and traditional knowledge for strengthening the beaches.
Kochi Theera Samrakshana Samithi convenor T A Dalfine also opined that a rehabilitation programme was a long pending demand. Noting that the government was not having a concrete solution to the issue, he said that the government could have taken steps even before the rainy season but no government ever took such a step. “Everyone knows about the monsoon season here. But it is only during the monsoon season that the government thinks of taking some steps for protecting the shores,’ he said.
Pointing out that all these are manmade disasters, Theeradesha Vanitha Federation president Maglin Philomena said that the present sea erosion had worsened the life of the people in the beaches.
She mentioned that the dredging in Kochi port had led to sea erosion on Chellanam and other places. She also noted that mangroves could be grown in Chellanam which could help in preventing sea erosion.
“In Thiruvananthapuram, sea erosion has increased because of the construction of the Vizhinjam port. A proper scientific study is needed here so as to find a permanent solution to the issue,” Maglin said.