Chellanam residents call for a relook at Punargeham

Residents of Chellanam panchayat, one of the regions worst affected by sea erosion in the State, have called on the government to take a second look at the Punargeham project to rehabilitate people living within 50 metres of the high-tide area.

They have said that the money being offered by the government for people to relocate is “absolutely inadequate”. “An amount of ₹10 lakh to buy a plot and build a house is not enough. However, the government is flaunting the case of a group of people, who are absolutely helpless and have lost their homes already, as having happily subscribed to the Punargeham programme,” said T.A. Dalphin of Pachima Kochi Theera Samrakshana Samithy.

He said that the families, keys to whose houses would be handed over on Thursday, were utterly helpless. Their houses have been lost or seriously damaged. They had no option but to take the offer from the government. They are not happy with the compensation, but are helpless, he added.

President of Twenty-Twenty Chellanam Biju Charles said that the compensation being offered by the government was totally inadequate. Instead, the government must work to protect the coast and ensure the safety of lives and property of people. T.A. Sebastian of Chellanam-Fort Kochi Theera Samrakshana Samithy said that the government must take steps to protect the coast.

“The Punargeham programme is a fraud on people. It is cruel and inhuman on the part of the government to implement the programme. The compensation for those who gave up land for the K-Rail project was much higher. Why should there be two standards for compensating people,” he asked.

The keys to 15 houses built under the Punargeham project in Ernakulam district will be handed over on Thursday. A total of 308 houses and 303 flat units are ready across the State under the rehabilitation programme for those living in the most vulnerable of the coastal areas. The programme is being implemented under the Fisheries Department.

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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 4:58:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/chellanam-residents-call-for-a-relook-at-punargeham/article36485502.ece

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