"The lives of about 500 fishermen families, along with the survival of the historical Sree Subrahmanya Swamy Temple and the nearby Muslim Juma Masjid too are at stake"

After the controversy over the Valiyaveli seawall project, the move to protect the Panathura coast with breakwater structures too has run into rough weather, this time albeit due to governmental delays.

While the seawall project at Valiyaveli ran into trouble with the local people being divided on the issue, and those who wanted the structure moving the High Court demanding immediate construction of the seawall, the attempt to install breakwater structures at Panathura moved halfway before getting entangled in bureaucratic delays.

According to Panathura Purushothaman, organising secretary of the Akhila Kerala Dheevara Sabha that has petitioned the State government demanding the revival of the breakwater project there, the project was initiated in 2007 with the help of a study report of IIT, Chennai. The report recommended 10 breakwater structures to protect the Panathura coast from the severe sea erosion in the area.

However, after a pilot project that saw construction of two breakwater structures, the project hit a block and since then has not seen any progress, Mr. Purushothaman told The Hindu.

The stumbling block came when the funds sanctioned for the remaining eight structures, Rs.14.9 crore, turned out to be inadequate. A revised project requesting Rs.22.29 crore was submitted to the Central Water Commission, he said, pointing out that the same file, however has been under ‘scrutiny’ of the State government ever since.

“The delay will only lead to the two breakwater structures that were constructed and the existing seawall gradually giving way to the continuing rage of the waves, just because these structures alone are insufficient to bear the burden. It is not just the crores that were spent for their construction that is going to be wasted. The lives of about 500 fishermen families, along with the survival of the historical Sree Subrahmanya Swamy Temple and the nearby Muslim Juma Masjid too are at stake,” he said, adding that the Dheevara Sabha was planning an agitation to get things moving. As for the Valiyaveli seawall project, officials said the government was preparing its version to be presented in the High Court when the case comes up for hearing shortly. The District Collector too was expected to convene a meeting to solve the issue amicably.