Kerala govt promises permanent solution to Muthalapozhi harbour issues within 18 months

Minister says Rs 164-cr project to address safety concerns submitted to Union government for approval.
Muthalapozhi harbour
Muthalapozhi harbour Photo | Express

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : The state government intends to find a permanent solution to the safety and infrastructure issues at the Muthalapozhi harbour in Thiruvananthapuram over the next one-and-half years, Fisheries Minister Saji Cherian informed the assembly on Monday.

Replying to the Opposition’s demand to discuss the matter via an adjournment motion, Cherian said fishermen venturing into the sea, ignoring weather warnings, were also the reasons for the recurring mishaps in and around the harbour. Large deposits of sand at the harbour’s mouth and rough waves were among the other issues, he said.

However, the Opposition, not convinced by the government’s assurance of a permanent solution, walked out of the assembly in protest.

Congress MLA M Vincent, who gave the notice for the adjournment motion, said fishermen were forced to venture into the sea to save their families from starvation. The government had convened a series of meetings but no action was forthcoming to address safety issues at the harbour. Vincent also alleged collusion between the government and the Adani group, which, he said, had not fulfilled its commitment of carrying out periodic dredging of the harbour channel.

“Removal of sand and rock accumulated at the harbour entrance and channel is mainly what the government has failed to address. This has led to the deaths of 73 fishermen. The delay by the government amounts to criminal negligence,” Vincent alleged.

Cherian said a Rs 164-crore project to address safety concerns and improve infrastructure at the harbour has been submitted to the Centre for approval. The project has received in-principle nod from the Centre, which will bear 60% of the project cost while the state will bear the remaining 40%, Cherian said.

“The last study report sought by the Union government will be submitted within a month and, subject to the Centre’s approval, tender process for construction will begin within two months. The government intends to find a permanent solution to the issue in the next one-and-a-half years,” Cherian said.

Leader of the Opposition V D Satheesan asked the government why it gave repeated extensions to Adani group to complete the dredging. He suggested the government take over the dredging and ask the Adani group to pay the expenses.

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