It may seem like an oft-repeated tale of woe. Every year, the onset of monsoon brings despair to the fisher folk whose makeshift houses fringe the perilous coastline in the district. The treacherous sea advanced further on Saturday morning as it thrashed over the sinking levee of granite rocks and flowed freely into the huts of residents at Valiathura. As one of them said, it was bad enough to lose their means of livelihood, but even in their homes, they were not left in peace.
Frustrated by the apathetic attitude of the authorities concerned, the local people decided it was time for drastic action as they blocked the road at three different locations near Valiyathura. Shortly, the district authorities led by Deputy Collector Chandrika visited the colonies by the sea and set up camps at the Government Upper Primary School, Valiyathura, and the Fisheries Residential School here. As of Saturday night, 110 had already moved to the UP School and 40 were shifted to the Fisheries school.
Binu, a resident of Lissy Road at Valiyathura, said the granite stones were last laid along the beach 14 years ago. In some parts, they had eroded and sunk and there was absolutely no shield against the seawater. “Even in the previous years, water used to sweep in. It seems worse now because the waves bring along weeds and garbage dumped further up the shore,” he said. Margaret is another victim of this offshoot of the city’s ubiquitous garbage crisis. A pile of rocks is all that stands between the sea and her house, which accommodates three families.
Janet lives a little inland with her three children. “Even we are affected by the breaching waves, with plastic waste and foul-smelling weed deposited at our doorsteps. We try to help out those who live right on the edge, where the water sweeps right through,” she said. Margaret and others who are the worst situated say last year there were promises made to provide land and accommodation inland, but so far, no move has been made in this regard.
They had requested the visiting district authorities to place larger rocks along the coast. However, officials say this was not going to be possible as no quarrying was being done at present and placing them would be difficult owing to relentless rain.