Fishermen to be provided work shelters onshore

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PERMANENT SHELTER: More than 1400 houses for tsunami- affected fishermen in the four coastal villages of Kalapet nearing completion.
PERMANENT SHELTER: More than 1400 houses for tsunami- affected fishermen in the four coastal villages of Kalapet nearing completion.

Rajesh B. Nair

They will be constructed in 18 villages in Puducherry, Karaikal

PUDUCHERRY: The tsunami-hit fishermen, who have been rehabilitated in new houses little away from their original habitation on the coast, will soon have a secure place on the shore itself to park their boats and keep fishing equipment.

Under a World Bank-aided project, the Project Implementation agency, floated by the territorial administration to construct houses and provide infrastructure, would construct fishermen work shelters in 18 coastal villages in the Puducherry and Karaikal regions.

The construction of work shelters would cost a sum of Rs. 50 crore.

A senior government official told The Hindu that once the facility was provided, fishermen could lock their boats, engines and nets in the allocated space inside the shelter. It had become necessary to provide a secure place for the fishermen to keep fishing equipment as all the new settlements constructed as part of tsunami rehabilitation programme were away from the shore, he said.

As far as construction of permanent houses for tsunami affected fishermen, of the total 7567 dwelling units planned at Puducherry and Karaikal so far 4593 houses were constructed and handed over to the beneficiaries. Out of the 2974 houses to be constructed, 1431 homes for the fishermen living in the four coastal villages of Kalapet was nearing completion.

“We hope to hand over the houses to the beneficiaries in two months time,” District Collector G. Ragesh Chandra told The Hindu. The project taken up by the PIA would cost Rs 80 crore, he added.

Similarly construction of 130 houses in Sholai Nagar (South) had been over and it would be handed over to the fishermen in a month’s time, he said.

The World Bank had agreed to allocate Rs 18 crore, apart from the Rs 185 crore sanctioned for tsunami rehabilitation, for constructing 300 houses in Nallavadu. The government was also in the process of approaching the Union Ministry of Environment to relax the Coastal Regulation Zone to allow the fishermen to re-construct their existing houses in coastal villages of Vembakeerapalayam, Dubrayapet, Kuruchikuppam and Sholai Nagar (North).

Around 1200 house have to be re-constructed in the existing places itself as rehabilitation process suffered a setback in these villages due to non-availability of land in the areas, Mr Chandra said.

Unlike in other tsunami rehabilitation process, the government would provide the amount needed for re-construction of houses to fishermen on instalment basis.

The amount would be provided with World Bank assistance. Of the total Rs 185 crore sanctioned by the bank for the Union Territory, Rs 75 crore had been released and the remaining amount would be given in the coming year, the Collector informed.

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