A tsunami museum waits to make it to the present

The building that was planned for Tsunami memorial museum.  

Had it all worked out as planned, it would have been a fitting memorial to the 2004 tsunami and an academic centre for future generations both rolled into one.

But, the 1,400-sq.ft building at Edavanakkad Government Upper Primary School, not so far away from the shore of Aniyil where the tsunami unleashed its fury and claimed five lives in December 2004, remains a mere scarecrow nearly a decade after its work was completed.

It was conceived as part of a network of tsunami-centric museums proposed by the then Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in government high schools. “It was after much effort that the project was allocated to Edavanakkad since the panchayat did not have a high school,” said former panchayat president V.K. Iqbal, during whose term the project was mooted in 2009-10.

The idea was to stock the museum with articles and relics related to tsunami, multimedia presentations on the phenomenon, including its cause and effects, so that future generations could drop in and learn everything about the great disaster. It was also supposed to draw in tourists considering its location near a string of beaches.

The construction of the building was started in 2011 using ₹25 lakh allocated from the development fund of then Ernakulam MP K.V. Thomas. The building was finished a year later, and the museum was supposed to be set up with a sum of ₹25 lakh to be allocated by the government.

But that allocation never materialised. “We had approached successive governments seeking help but in vain. Now the cost could have escalated prohibitively. I personally don’t think it will ever happen though the panchayat remains optimistic about it,” said Mr. Iqbal, who is now vice president of Edavanakkad panchayat.

Mr. Thomas said the building was just one of a slew of buildings built using his MP funds, but was left wasted for want of proper follow-up.

“Either the panchayat should take it over or give it to private parties if they do not have enough funds,” he said.

The panchayat had recently repaired the building and applied a fresh coat of paint in the hope that the museum may come up someday.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 4:28:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/a-tsunami-museum-waits-to-make-it-to-the-present/article36298581.ece

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