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Coastal residents to stage dharna demanding shoreline protection

Yet another monsoon season sets in over the already ravaged coast of Thiruvananthapuram as the concerns of residents in the coastal belt remain unresolved.

Published: 10th June 2020 03:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th June 2020 03:43 AM   |  A+A-

Several houses have been destroyed due to sea erosion in the district’s coastal belt,Vincent Pulickal

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Yet another monsoon season sets in over the already ravaged coast of Thiruvananthapuram as the concerns of residents in the coastal belt remain unresolved. Back-to-back storms and cyclones have battered the district’s coastal areas. Hundreds of families are displaced every year because of sea erosion. Still, authorities are yet to come up with a permanent solution to protect the shoreline and livelihood and properties of fishermen. Coastal residents and a section of people in coastal areas will stage a dharna in front of the Secretariat on Wednesday. V S Sivakumar, MLA, will also take part.

Currently, 165 families are residing in five temporary camps in the district, while 200 families have moved to rented homes or are living with relatives. With the arrival of monsoon, more families are expected to get displaced.

A seawall that remains on paper
Even before the onset of monsoon, the coastline has been facing severe sea erosion and the irrigation department’s project to construct a seawall remains on paper. Tony Oliver, president of Kambavala Thozhilali Federation, said the situation has turned worse in the past three years. “Authorities pay a routine visit every year and promise a seawall.

However, nothing is happening on the ground and the depleting shoreline is threatening our livelihood,” he said. The irrigation department claims that seawall construction is being delayed as there are no takers for the tender, he said. “V S Sivakumar, MLA, earmarked `2 crore from his MLA fund to construct the seawall. However, the government is yet to grant administrative sanction for the amount,” said Tony.

Offshore breakwater project yet to take off
The much-hyped offshore breakwater project planned along the Thiruvananthapuram coast is yet to take off. Over 800 houses have been fully damaged in the past four years. But apart from a study done by the National Institute of Ocean Technology, the Kerala State Coastal Area Development Corporation has failed to implement the project ahead of monsoon, leaving the coastal population in the lurch. The offshore breakwater system will be made of geotubes due to the unavailability of rocks. Geotubes are made of polypropylene fabric, which is then filled with sand to build the breakwater system.



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