Delay owing to incomplete tender processes for components

The first phase of the work on the Rs.39.3-crore Vellayil fishing harbour will take at least two years to complete, the Harbour Engineering Department said on Wednesday.

The harbour is considered a major step to revive the sizeable fishing community of Vellayil here, and its foundation stone-laying ceremony was inaugurated by the Chief Minister in May 2013. The harbour is expected to be fully functional in four years.

But though the government had promised to start the first phase of the work in August last year, the work had suffered some delay due to incomplete tender processes for major components of the harbour such as breakwater, wharf, fish auction hall, dredging, and reclamation works.

Rough sea conditions had also contributed to the delay in launching the work.

“We have started work recently and the progress is smooth. Right now, we are building the breakwaters. We have finished 85 to 90 metres of the breakwaters as of now,” P. Latha, Executive Engineer, Harbour Engineering, said.

She said the first phase of the harbour work would include the construction of the two breakwaters, a wharf, auction hall, and vehicle-parking areas.

“There will be other structures such as the canteen. The completion of the first phase will take two years,” she said.

The facility is meant to be an addition to the Beypore and Puthiappa harbours in the district with its close proximity to the city. The harbour site is hardly 2 km away from the Vellayil railway station and is next to the main coastal road of the city.

Many jobs

The harbour site is now used as a fish-landing centre. Once the harbour comes into existence, 250 medium to large fishing boats could operate and dock here.

The harbour would be capable of handling 8,980 tonnes of fish. The harbour is expected to provide jobs to 2,275 local fishermen.

Initial payment

The Centre, which would bear 75 per cent of the project cost, had allowed Rs.3 crore as initial payment.

The Vellayil fishing scene had fallen into bad times from its heydays in the 1970s, when fishermen from as far as Kannur district to Chavakkad in Thrissur used to come to sell their catch.

It lost out largely because the mode of fishing changed from eight-men catamarans to 40-men and engine-powered trawlers and fibre boats. Now, workers say that hardly 100 boxes of fish are sold at the Vellayil fish-landing centre.

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