Three teams to hold talks in the city today
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Central team touring the southern districts of the State to assess the damages caused by monsoon-induced natural calamities visited the coastal areas of the city on Monday to take stock of the damages caused by sea erosion.
The team members, led by S.K. Chathopadhaya, arrived at the Shanghumughom beach on Monday evening from Nilamel. The team was shown around the by Law Minister M. Vijayakumar and MLAs K. V. Surendran Pillai, V. Sivankutty and George Mercier. Members of the team inspected the granite walkway on the beach that collapsed following the onslaught of the sea.
From Shanghumughom the team went to a relief camp at Kanannthura. Here, the team members wanted to know the quantity of food material supplied to the people living at the camp. Revenue officials led by Additional District Magistrate K. Surendran replied that those at the camp were given “sufficient quantities” of rice and other food material. To this team members pointed out that they cannot prepare an estimate of the expenses incurred by the Government for calamity-relief activities based on “sufficient quantities.”
“How much rice do you give, 20 kg, 30 kg, how much?” a team member wanted to know. Finally, revenue officials told the members of the central team that the Government spends Rs.10,000 a day on each relief camp. The team members then went inside the rooms and saw the fish curry and idli that were kept cooked there. “Did you buy utensils for those in the camps? You can claim reimbursement for that, do you know?” a team member asked revenue officials.
The women at the camp told the team members — in Malayalam — that they had no complaints about the food they get there. “What we want is land to go back to,” they said, with Mr. Mercier translating. From the camp the team members went to the Kannanthura beach where they were shown the remains of houses with concrete roofs.
Team member and under secretary at the Ministry of Rural Development S.V. Singh told The Hindu at Kannathura that the damage seen by the team at various locations were totally consistent with the damage assessment given by the State Government.
“We have seen the damage to various crops. Tomorrow all the three teams touring the State will have a meeting and then we will have discussions with the Government,” he added.
From Kannanthura, the team went to Kovalam to see the impact of sea erosion on the beaches there.