KOCHI: With the proposed geotube project going south, the residents here are again facing the prospect living in temporary rehabilitation camps. After years of living with sea erosion, Chellanam residents vented out their frustration during the District Collector K Mohammed Y Safirulla’s visit to the coastal region on Wednesday.
“Who should we complain to? Whoever has ruled us so far has given only hollow promises. Our MLA is not even available to see our hardships. Every monsoon, it is us who bear the brunt of nature’s fury,” said Rajasekharan, a fisherman from the Chellanam bazaar which has been flooded since last few days.
Despite major demand for the construction of breakwater (Pulimuttu), the officials are still muddled in blame-game and running away from their responsibilities, allege the public. “The officials are trying to do the work which they should have completed before March. No one has any concerns about our life. Politicians needed us only for votes and once elected, they never care to look into our issues. Though District Collector was lethargic in initiating action, the protest was not against him. We vented our anger and frustration against the successive governments which didn’t do anything to find a permanent solution,” said Jimson, a resident.
They dismiss the allegation of abusing the Collector during his visit. “Our temperament was under control throughout his visit. There might be a few who lost their cool due to the miseries they have been going through for the last three days. But he (Collector) didn’t utter a single word on the issue and went back. We hope that at least he will understand that the information he has received so far is false,” said Vinicius, a daily wage earner. However, many have pointed out that the Chellanam panchayat officials were lackadaisical about executing the geotube work on time. “Panchayat did not lend any support to the geotube project. Instead, they tried to create as many hurdles as possible before the contractor. Irrigation dept officials are also a major culprit here. If they could create a consensus to ensure sufficient sand needed for geotubes, the situation would have been completely different now,” said a resident.