KOCHI: A technical committee of the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (Kufos) submitted a detailed project report to the fisheries department on Friday to develop Chellanam panchayat as a model fishing village. Industries Minister P Rajeeve and Fisheries Minister V Abdurahiman attended the function held at Kufos where Vice-Chancellor K Riji John and Kerala State Coastal Area Development Corporation (KSCADC) Managing Director P I Sheik Pareeth handed over the report to Fisheries Director Adeela Abdulla.
Rajeeve, who inaugurated the function, said the restoration works in Chellanam have ensured the safety of the villagers though the sea continues to be rough due to adverse weather conditions. The state government plans to implement a Rs 5,400-crore project for restoration of ecologically sensitive areas, he said. Abdurahiman presided over the function.
Pareeth said the government is implementing a Rs 941.75-crore project for restoration of the coastal village. Various departments have sanctioned Rs 520.17 crore for the project and the government has to source Rs 421.55 crore more to complete the project.
The project proposes to implement a Rs 191-crore project for construction of a sewage treatment plant in the panchayat. Chellanam has 8,680 households and many of them do not have modern toilets. Waste disposal is a serious problem in most parts of the panchayat, due to the high-water table. The septage is discharged directly into Vembanad Lake. Such disposal of human waste contaminates wells and other drinking water sources. The pollution load on Vembanad Lake in this area is substantially high. The project proposes to build a sewage treatment plant using technology developed by Integrated Rural Technology Centre, Palakkad.
Another proposal is to provide better educational facilities by establishing a vocational higher secondary school and a college. St Teresa’s College has expressed willingness to establish a college with government approval. The project also proposes to create employment opportunities by opening aquaculture and fish processing units. Considering the acute shortage of potable water in the panchayat, a new pipeline should be laid by replacing the five-decade-old existing drinking water distribution network. The panel also proposes to implement a Rs 20-crore project to reconstruct houses destroyed by tidal waves. The report stresses on the need to rebuild the roads and culverts and provide playgrounds.
The village has been facing the fury of rough sea as massive tidal waves devastate the area during monsoon. Though seawalls were constructed, they have crumbled due to lack of periodic maintenance.
The old seawall no longer protects the coast. In 2021, Cyclone Tauktae wreaked havoc along the Chellanam coast, destroying and damaging many houses. The Kufos submitted 213 project proposals for the comprehensive development of Chellanam, including the Chellanam Model Village Project (CMVP).
The project cost is Rs 941.72 crore and the government has allocated Rs 520.17 crore. Assuming that 500 hectares of pokkali fields in the panchayat are utilised for rice farming, the project will facilitate an additional production of 500 tonnes of paddy. Shrimp farming in 500 hectares of pokkali fields will ensure annual shrimp production of 500 tonnes. In addition, there will be a substantial increase in the production of vegetables and coconut.
Further the project will bring enhanced safety from sea erosion, rehabilitation of 705 families residing within 50-metre distance from the sea, uninterrupted water supply, electricity, generation of solar energy, better health facilities, education and economic empowerment of women, said Riji.
- Construction of VHSS and college
- Aquaculture, fish processing units
- Construction of roads, culverts and playgrounds
- New drinking water pipeline
- Sewage plant
- Housing project