THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : The much-hyped off-shore breakwater project initiated by the state government at Poonthura — one of the worst affected areas due to coastal erosion in Kerala — is finally becoming a reality. It’s been two years since the state government came up with the project on a pilot basis. For a long time, it remained a non-starter owing to the rough sea, heavy monsoon, Covid situation and cyclones.
The Kerala State Coastal Area Development Corporation (KSCADC), the special purpose vehicle (SPV) entrusted with the project, entered into an agreement with Mumbai-based DVP GCC Joint Ventures for executing the pilot project at Poonthura. The government has earmarked Rs 19 crore for the project. It is being implemented with the technical support of the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), which carried out a model study for the project.
“The preparatory work has already started. We have around eight months to complete the project but the contractor has promised to complete it within three months. We couldn’t begin the construction as planned owing to the pandemic. This is the first offshore breakwater project and it would be constructed 125 metres into the sea,” said a senior official associated with the project.
The plan is to construct a 700-metre-long breakwater extending along Poonthura-Valiyathura-Beemapally-Shankhumukham. “The construction material is sourced from China. IIT Madras has cleared the samples. The material has reached Ernakulam and will arrive here soon after customs clearance. We will be able to kick off the project by next week,” said the official.
The offshore breakwater will be constructed along the coastline using geo tubes of 5m diameter. The official said the effectiveness of breakwater will be reviewed for a year. “The state government has sanctioned `150 crore for the shoreline protection in the district. If the pilot project is successful, we will replicate the project along the capital coast. We have the funds,” said the official.
With sea erosion turning catastrophic across Kerala, the state government has announced Rs 5,000 crore for shoreline protection in the recent budget.