KOCHI: “We have been staying at St Antony’s School, Valiyathura for more than three years now. I go to the same school. Every time I walked straight from bed to school, I always dreamt of having my own house. I have told all my friends about my new room,” said Rahul P, class VII student of St Antony’s School, Valiyathura.
For people like Rahul, it is a dream come true moment. After waiting for decades, the fishermen who lost their houses in the 2013 sea erosion, are finally moving into their new houses which have been constructed under LIFE housing scheme meant exclusively for the fishing community.
“We were doubtful in the beginning when they told us. They have missed several deadlines. Pinarayi sir will distribute the keys to us. We are quite excited,” said Simpson, fisherman.
According to the deputy mayor, Rakhi Ravikumar, a budget of Rs 2 crore was allotted for the development of the Ockhi-affected regions including education of fishermen’s children, provision for fishing implements and health protection. “We have built 197 houses and they will be occupied from today. Students should not suffer anymore because their schools were turned into rehabilitation centres,” said Rakhi Ravikumar, deputy mayor, Corporation.
Though the fishermen families are happy that their homes have become a reality, they have expressed concern for their fellow fishermen friends who were not lucky enough to be in the first allotment list. “There are many families in relief camps in schools like the Vocational Fisheries HSS and the St Antony’s Higher Secondary School at Valiyathura. My neighbours are still stuck at the rehabilitation centre with their kids. I hope the government considers their situation too,” said Vijayamma Raghavan, a sea erosion victim, Valiyathura.
Speaking to T’puram Express, Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma assured that the department plans to construct more such flats across the state to rehabilitate fishermen families who live within 50 metres of the coastline. “In the future, we have plans to build a community hall, store room for fishing gear, playground, drainage system, water supply, sanitation facilities and high mast lights for them,” said Mercykutty Amma, Fisheries Minister.
More homes planned
Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma assured that the department plans to construct more similar flats across the state to rehabilitate fishermen families who live within 50 metres of the coastline.