The dream of a fishing harbour for traditional fishermen living along the 26-km coastal line between South Chellanam and Fort Kochi as well as those in the coastal villages of Arthunkal, Ottamassery, and Andhakaranazhi was realised on Monday with the inauguration of the Chellanam fishing harbour.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the harbour, the demand for which had been rife for nearly a decade.
P.A. Charles, a traditional fisherman and one among those who gave up their homes and land for the project, said that the opening of the harbour gave hope to the village.
Around 200 traditional fishing vessels berth at the harbour now. Sanction for the construction of a 120-metre-long breakwater for the harbour was accorded in 2007. A total of ₹5 crore was allocated for the project initially. The Harbour Engineering Department later submitted a proposal for transforming the facility into a full-fledged fishing harbour. However, the project was delayed due to difficulties in land acquisition.
The new harbour has facilities, including approach roads as well as a wharf and auction halls.
A communication from the Public Relations Department said that the harbour would provide direct employment to 9,000 persons while generating 13,000 indirect jobs. The facility was constructed at a cost of ₹50 crore.
Fishers from Chellanam, Maruvakkad, Kandakkadavu, Kannamali, and Cheriyakadavu will immediately benefit from the project.
Fisheries Minister J. Mercykutty Amma presided over the inaugural function, while John Fernandez and K.J. Maxi, MLAs, graced the occasion.