Cyclone-ravaged Pushpavanam yearns for protection from waves
Pushpavanam in Vedaranyam block of Nagapattinam district was one of the villages worst affected by Cyclone Gaja in November 2018.
NAGAPATTINAM: Residents of cyclone-ravaged Pushpavanam village have demanded a sand wall to be built along the coastline. This would prevent storm surges from invading their village. They want sand from a water body in the village to be used for the purpose. Over the past few days, villagers have been staging protests demanding the sand wall be built.
Pushpavanam in Vedaranyam block of Nagapattinam district was one of the villages worst affected by Cyclone Gaja in November 2018. A huge storm surge deposited tonnes of marine sludge from the sea into the village. “We lost a lot of sand plains and terrain which stood as a defence against storm surges in the past over the years. We demand the administration relocate the sand excavated from the pond the Rural Development department is desilting and use it to build a sandy terrain wall for our protection,” said Pushpavanam resident S Ilamparuthi.
Pushpavanam is prone to storm surge as it is located close to the sea. The marine sludge deposited several hundred metres into the village during the cyclone took over a year to remove. The sludge can still be found in a few places around the village, including Guinness pond, which is a few metres from the shore.
The Rural Development department is desilting it at a cost of Rs 1 lakh.. “We cultivate crops like groundnut, cashew and grow trees for a living. Conditions are changing due to repeated storm surges over the years. We want the sandy structure to be built with the excavated sand from Guinness pond,” said K Manivannan, a farmer.
“The sandy plains which were once important to us to safeguard against nature were removed without keeping the future in mind a few years ago..Our village paid dearly for this. Land excavations are proving to be more harmful than beneficial. We have been petitioning officials for years now,” said S Gunasekaran, a Pushpavanam native who is a History professor at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Speaking to TNIE, a block development officer from Vedaranyam said, “We do not mind constructing a sand wall as the villagers are demanding but we do not have sufficient funds for this particular project. Besides, the sand excavated from the pond would not be sufficient to build a sand wall along the length of the coast. We need the sand to strengthen the perimeters of the pond. We would rather propose to the government about working out a plan to build a wall under MGNREGS.”