Government yet to implement proposed package at Vaduthala site

Dusk falls quickly on the 5.5-acre rehabilitation site at Vaduthala much to the dread of those 13 families, who have decided to move in. There are just a couple of street lights, no water connection and thick foliage around is home to poisonous snakes.

“All we are requesting is a proper water connection. We have to rely on the public tap at Chittoor Road now where , we have to brave the opposition of local residents there,” said Varghese, one of the residents. The plot has been marked out for 100-odd families displaced from Vaduthala for the International Transshipment Container Terminal (ICTT), Vallarpadom.

“We were promised that the entire area will be properly walled and levelling done before the site was allotted to us. Nothing has happened and now, this area is inundated at every tide or rain,” said Cleetus, pointing to three-feet-high basements of half-complete houses. “Many owners have left the work halfway through, as trucks cannot come in due to slush,” he said.

Tuesday marked the completion of six months after the UDF Government led by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy distributed the rent due to displaced families and promised to complete the rehabilitation process with much fanfare at Moolampilly.

The Coordination Committee for those displaced for development projects and the Samara Sahaya Samiti have together come out, urging the government to act. “The monitoring committee headed by the District Collector has effectively completed the plan and estimate of rehabilitation process. But the funds have not been released by the State Government, even though it has been approved by the Department of Revenue,” said Francis Kalathunkal, general convener of the committee.

The monitoring committee has visited the sites identified for rehabilitation and prepared the plan for installing basic infrastructure, like power, water, road and drainage. “Steps have not been initiated to release Rs. 75,000 each for families to do the piling works ahead of starting the construction of houses at sites allotted to them or to refund the tax deducted from the compensation for displacement given to them,” Mr. Kalathunkal said.

Lack of coordination between different agencies has been pointed out as another hurdle in effective implementation of the rehabilitation process. As an example, the affected parties point out the incident that occurred on Monday when the debris from the demolished side-bays of the North Railway Overbridge was dumped at the rehabilitation site at Thuthiyoor.

“We were also promised jobs in the ICTT project as part of the rehabilitation process. We do not expect that now. All we need is a decent living condition,” said Mr. Cleetus, looking lost as evening darkened around him.

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