KOCHI: With the monsoon fast approaching, the irrigation department has sanctioned laying of geo bags along the coast at Edavanakkad and Nayarambalam villages. Last year, the monsoon had caused sea erosion and flooding in these areas. Sea incursion due to high tide during monsoon often forces residents to move into shelter camps. “The existing sea-walls at Aniyil Bazaar, Nayarambalam and Njarakkal region have deteriorated through the years. Besides sea attacks, the region also face inundation of canals that criss-cross the island during monsoon,” said Aashan, a fisherman.
Not a permanent solution
While the work to lay geo bags is set to begin soon, residents say it is not a permanent solution. “The measure will bring a temporary respite, given that the works finish before monsoon starts. Ideally, the work should also cover Njarakkal region. For years, we have been demanding sea walls to be constructed along the beach. There are many houses within the 50-100 m from the sea,” said P V Jayan, district secretary, Parambaragatha Matsya Thozhilali Samithi.
Meanwhile, the irrigation department officials said they have received sanction for coastal defence works along Aniyil and Pazhangad coasts in Edavanakkad and Veliyathamparamb beach in Nayarambalam. We are optimistic about finishing it before the monsoon. Pre-monsoon works at Velanthodu and Aarambithodu canal are progressing too,” the official said.
The majority of the canal cleaning work is being carried out by the minor irrigation department. The department had obtained sanction for works after last year’s flood. Six canals in the Kuzhipilly region and two in Elamkunnapuzha region will be cleaned. Both mechanised and manual labour are involved in the work. According to officials, they are yet to get sanction for Appangad canal, a major waterbody at Nayarambalam region. For years, the residents have been demanding clearing of the banks and increasing its depth for the free movement of traditional fishing boats.
Pre-monsoon works on hundreds of smaller canals in the region will be carried out at panchayat level using labourers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. As per panchayat officials, of the 40 small canals at Njarakkal, cleaning has commenced in six. In Nayarambalam, work is progressing in 22 canals. Edavanakkad panchayat too has started works in major drainages and canals in selected wards.