: A promise is a promise. That’s the government line for the coastal residents of Thiruvananthapuram. It will not be broken, neither will it be kept. But, it will unfailingly be repeated every year.

In June, it will be one year after the former District Collector K.N. Satheesh submitted a report to the government, mooting a comprehensive rehabilitation package as a permanent solution to the problems faced by residents of Valiyathura, where the coast comes under attack from tidal waves and sea erosion when the monsoon sets in.

The report, which was submitted after several families were shifted to relief camps following sea erosion in May-June last year, had called for the rehabilitation of about 300 families who bore the brunt of sea erosion and tidal attacks, apart from re-construction of the sea-walls built by the Irrigation Department that had been damaged. It was prepared after Mr. Satheesh visited the erosion-hit areas.

The report, based on directives of the government seeking a detailed proposal for a permanent solution to the recurring incidents of erosion, had also suggested two sites at Muttathara, both government-owned but in the possession of various departments, as suitable locations to initiate a rehabilitation package by clubbing the available State and Central schemes for housing and other infrastructure.

The reaction of the residents to the suggestion of rehabilitation was positive. Over the years they been through severe hardship caused by recurring sea-erosion and tidal waves, each time forcing them to pack their belongings and shift to temporary relief camps, in the process disturbing the education of their wards and, most often, returning to find their homes in a precarious condition after the waves had washed away the sand from beneath them. The report pointed out that the existing seawall was in a dilapidated condition, which, in turn, was accentuating the impact of the tidal attacks.

People’s representatives have submitted repeated reminders and memoranda to almost every political leader who visited the area during the recent election campaign. Still, apart from a few assurances, nothing has changed. 

“There was an issue related to the land that was to be allocated for the purpose near the Muttathara Sewage Farm, which has been solved. Work on the houses is expected to begin after the elections,” said District Collector Biju Prabhakar.

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