PUDUCHERRY: A decade after Tsunami wreaked havoc, 7,576 fishermen living in 34 coastal villages of Puducherry and Karaikal have been provided houses by the government and NGOs. While 4,168 fishermen were provided houses in Puducherry, 3,408 houses have been provided in Karaikal.
While many of them have extended their houses and constructed first floors, and fitted their houses with modern gadgets like air conditioners and even combined two houses and reconstructed them as a single house, some have not occupied the houses and continue to live in their old houses or in rented accommodation.
“There is a sense of safety and there is no fear of tsunami hitting us now,” says Sashi, a fish seller from Ganapathychettikulam who lost her mother-in-law in the tsunami.
She has converted the house provided by the government in Kalapet into a two-storied building and also extended it. However, there is difficulty in pursuing fishing as the housing area is four kilometres from the sea, she says.
Vanitha, who survived the giant waves by clinging on to a tree, says she now sleeps in peace in the house provided by the government far away from the sea. She, however, laments that income from fishing is coming down due to the diminishing catch for her husband. Punitha Mary and her husband Stephen Jude are a happy lot, having constructed a two-storied house with a designer facade. Stephen no longer pursues fishing and works in Hotel Dune and the couple have a decent income.
Besides houses, work shelters for boat and net mending have also been provided in eight villages in Puducherry. More shelters have been proposed in another eight villages with a funding of `11.5 crore from World Bank, say PIA officials.