The ambience could be deceptive. Breeze announcing the last rays of the day from across the lake, as the sound of eddies lapping the shore sets the ambience. Dark clouds on the horizon promise another cool night amidst the sweltering summer.
But none of these appeal to the families displaced for the Vallarpadom International Container Transshipment Terminal. This setting only means more hardship for them, as most of the sites handed over as part of the rehabilitation packages have already been inundated with water during the couple of days' rain.
The site at Moolampilly, where 13 families have been allotted land, holds the testimony for the condition of the rehabilitation package. Electric lines have been drawn, but there is no power; pipes have been put up, but no water; complained Joy, one of the beneficiaries allotted land there.
The reclaimed land is fast losing out, as the sand seeps out through the retention wall to the water body. At some points, water has come into the plot, revealing the fragile condition of the boundaries. The district administration has allotted Rs. 75,000 each for the families for piling work, which is hardly enough, they complained.
The Coordination Committee for those displaced by development project has now come up with the demand to punish those who were responsible for the faulty construction of the retention walls. A meeting of the committee held here alleged that the nexus between officials of the district administration, Cochin Port Trust and contractors have led to the present condition.
The contract for Rs. 80 lakh for dredging the backwater and reclaiming 1.28 acres of land by constructing the retaining wall at Moolampilly Island (survey number 591) in Kadamakudy village was given to a private contractor under supervision of the Cochin Port Trust. However, information collection through queries posted under the Right to Information Act showed that the retaining wall was not constructed according to the original plan and hence the reclaimed land was fast losing out to the water body, complained the committee.
The summer shower has already affected the ongoing construction work of three houses there and the condition would worsen once the monsoon sets in, the committee observed. In another press release, the committee noted that the water logging at the rehabilitation site at Vaduthala has made life difficult to those who have moved in there.
The residents there have been demanding construction of canals to prevent water logging. The power and water connections have been made to this plot.
Keywords: Vallarpadom Container Terminal