Protesters block Chandy at Vizhinjam

A meeting convened by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy here on Friday decided to take up an action plan to resolve the lack of drinking water supply in the Vizhinjam coastal area.

The meeting was convened in response to a protest staged by a group of fish workers who waved black flags and blocked the Chief Minister's car near the Vizhinjam wharf in the morning when he was returning to the city after inaugurating a function to launch a marine fish stock enhancement programme.

Later in the evening, Mr. Chandy told The Hindu that he had directed officials of the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) to work out both short-term and long-term solutions to the problem.

The long-term solution involving a Rs.30-crore project already under consideration, seeks to supply water from the Vellayani lake to the parched areas in Vizhinjam. “The project which was originally designed for three panchayats bordering the lake will have to be extended to Vellayani. The KWA has been asked to study the feasibility of extending the project,” Mr. Chandy said.

“Considering the urgency of the situation, a short-term solution based on existing schemes will be worked out. A third option is to take up a small-scale water supply scheme with immediate effect. The Rs.25-lakh scheme involving treatment and supply of water from local sources will be tendered immediately and completed in three months. The funds will be shared by the MP, MLA, City Corporation and KWA.”

Councillors from the Vizhinjam circle, representatives of the church, and local organisations participated in the discussions. In the absence of piped water supply, residents in the Vizhinjam area had to depend on drinking water supplied in tankers. Residents in the Kottapuram, Karimpallikara, Pallithura, Pulloorkonam, Harbour Township, and Mathippuram areas are the worst-hit. Schemes devised by the erstwhile panchayat had to be abandoned due to paucity of funds and salinity intrusion.