THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: “It’s high time the government stepped in to prevent the fishermen from losing their homes. As we don’t know any trade other than catching fish, we will die of hunger if government gives us home somewhere away from the coast,” said Lawrence, a fisherman at Veli. As the government plans to enforce the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms, the fishermen along the coastal belt are a worried lot. As per reports, the state government has asked the district administration to submit the final list of houses that come under CRZ before January 12 .
The fishermen in Veli, Valiyathura, Vizhinjam and other coastal areas in the state capital are concerned that they will lose their homes once the CRZ norms are implemented in the current form. The list of households that violate CRZ norms, published in panchayat offices in Alappuzha and Ernakulam as per Supreme Court guidelines, contains more than 4,000 homes of fishermen.
According to reports, about 3,000 violations are suspected in Thiruvananthapuram. Town planning officers were expected to publish the list and get feedback from aggrieved parties by December 31 last year. However the fishermen community Veli and Valiyathura seem unaware of any such list. Pointing to the yellow marks on his house, Juilan N George, a fisherman at Valiyathura said, “Officers came to my house and marked it with yellow paint.
The administration is saying that houses should be 50 metres away from the sea but if they implement that norm, at least 10 rows of houses will have to be demolished. Where will the state rehabilitate us? The government has promised to install breakwaters. No action has been taken so far.” Recalling an earlier instance of rehabilitation promise, he added, “The families were promised `10 lakh or a new place to live. Many families opted for the compensation. But they have not received the promised amount”.
However, according to Shobha Patrick, ward councillor, Valiyathura, “Areas that come under the corporation limit like Valiyathura have regulations only on new constructions. Old houses that stand within the restricted area will be unaffected,” she said.