Over 100 Chellanam families interested in rehabilitation

More than 100 families in the coastal village of Chellanam, suffering from relentless sea erosion and flooding of homes, have expressed interest in being rehabilitated under the ‘Punargeham’ programme announced by the State government nearly two years ago.

Fisheries Department sources said more than 200 families in Ernakulam district had expressed interest in being rehabilitated and relocated in the wake of severe sea incursion. Enquiries from Chellanam, one of the most affected areas, stood around 150, said sources.

The Punargeham programme involves relocating families living within 50 metres of the high tide line along the Kerala coast. The Fisheries Department has sent out a call to owners of land measuring 50 cents, not falling within the Coastal Regulation Zone, for the erection of housing complexes. Department sources said the land would be acquired by the government for constructing the housing complex that would accommodate the families requiring relocation.

The owners of land have been asked to contact the Fisheries Department by August 13 with all documents.

Department sources said that only those willing to be rehabilitated would be accommodated under the project and that no one would be forced to relocate.

A spokesman for Chellanam Janakiya Vedhi, a forum demanding measures to protect the coastal village, described the Punargeham programme as an attempt to hoodwink the people. While the government was offering massive incentives to landowners who might have to cede land for the semi-high speed rail corridor, coastal residents were being given very little, he said.

Former finance minister Thomas Isaaac had said in his budget speech in January 2021 that a total of 13,018 houses had been built in the coastal areas over the previous five years and that 7,500 houses would be built at an expense of ₹300 crore under the LIFE Mission in 2021-22. The aim of the Punargeham programme was to rehabilitate 2,500 coastal families at a cost of about ₹250 crore.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 6:36:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/over-100-chellanam-families-interested-in-rehabilitation/article35609400.ece

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