Minister visits erosion site, asks officials to undertake repairs to damaged houses

Gafoor, a resident of Ullal near here, is crestfallen. He finds it difficult to make both ends meet after his house was damaged following sea erosion. “We are left to fend ourselves after our houses got damaged due to the wild Arabian sea. Government agencies have done precious little. We set up this ‘ganji kendra’ (gruel centre) in a godown of Caico factory for the victims,” he complains.

Speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the visit of District in-charge Minister B. Ramanath Rai on Tuesday, Gafoor said in all nine families have taken shelter at the godown. “The town Municipal Council provided some amount of ration. Otherwise we have been managing on our own for over a week now,” he rued. While kids had gone to school during the Minister’s visit, a few infants were seen sleeping in makeshift cradle (joli) inside the godown.

Sharief, another displaced person, said they want the government to get their damaged houses repaired as an immediate measure and proper rehabilitation as a long-term measure.

At the other end of the godown, a few ‘local leaders’ were seen tutoring the women occupants as to how to speak to the Minister and that everything was “fine” in the rehabilitation centre.

On the other hand, Adam, the Imam of Caico Rifayiza Masjid in the locality, was worried about the damage being caused to the masjid structure.

Work orders

Mr. Rai told presspersons that the situation should be better next year when the permanent protection measure being undertaken by the government becomes operational. He said of the Rs. 900-odd crore package for the entire coastal line of Karnataka, Rs. 273 crore has been allotted to Dakshina Kannada. Tenders have already been awarded and work orders are to be issued, he said after speaking to the victims of sea erosion.

The Minister directed the officials to take care of the displaced persons.

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