KOCHI: It seems authorities are yet to learn any lessons from the Ockhi cyclone of 2017 that flattened the entire coastal village of Chellanam. With no measures taken to prevent seawater incursion, hard times are back for the residents with cyclone Maha.“During Ockhi, our entire house was damaged and we had to repair it at our own expense.
The authorities then said a permanent solution will be found by lying geotubes. Though a geotube was laid near my house, it failed to prevent seawater from entering the house. The house is developing cracks and I do not know how to save it,” said Antony, a fishermen who resides behind the Velankanni Matha Chapel at Chellanam.
After Ockhi, the Irrigation Department was directed to install geotubes at five locations here. However, after laying one near the chapel, the work was stopped. The department then sued the contractor for improper work and the legal dispute delayed the project further. “Recently, the High Court directed the contractor to complete laying of geotubes in 10 days.
Geotubes are expected to prevent sea incursion. However, it needs to ensured the contractor does good-quality work within the specified time limit,” said Chellanam panchayat president Mercy Josy. “There was no information even about relief camps. Water started entering houses at midnight. Had the authorities warned us earlier, we would have moved our belongings to safety. Even now, we have no idea whether any relief camps have been started,” said Saraswathi, a native of Bazar in the coastal village.