The Chief Minister says houses destroyed in sea erosion will be rebuilt.
The Opposition LDF walked out of the Assembly on Monday, accusing the government of neglecting the people living along the coastal stretch of the State who were reeling under the impact of severe sea erosion since the start of the monsoon.
V.S. Sunil Kumar of the Communist Party of India, who served notice for an adjournment motion to discuss the plight of the people who had lost their houses in the sea erosion, said the government had not even taken emergency steps to protect the coast against the fury of the waves. Government contractors were refusing to attend to the work since their old bills had not been settled.
He said that since the ban on mechanised fishing had begun and the sea was rough, fishermen were jobless. He urged the government to supply free rice and other essential commodities to the affected people.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said a special meeting of the Cabinet on Friday had sanctioned Rs.18 crore to put up boulders against high waves in areas threatened by the sea erosion. Further, the District Collectors had been asked to utilise the amount available in the State Disaster Relief Fund to provide assistance to the people. The fund now had Rs.139 crore that could be utilised for the relief work. Houses destroyed in the sea erosion would be rebuilt. The Irrigation Department had been directed to prepare a detailed estimate of the works that would have to be undertaken to protect the entire stretch of the State’s coast, he said.
Minister for Water Resources P.J. Joseph said a permanent solution to the problem of sea erosion, which recurred every year during the monsoon, would entail heavy expenses, and the State would not be able to do it on its own. There had to be liberal assistance from the Union government for constructing a series of breakwater structures from the coast into the sea.
Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan, announcing the Opposition walkout, said the people adversely affected by sea erosion expected the government to provide them assistance in their hour of misery and were not interested in explanations and excuses.