Preparations for laying geotextile tubes begin at Chellanam

The first phase of the long-pending geotextile tube work to protect the sea coast along Chellanam panchayat is expected to be completed by June 20. K.J. Maxi, MLA, said on Monday that the first phase would see laying of sand-filled geotextile tubes for a length of 1.10 km in Velankanni, Cheriyakadavu, Companyppadi and the Bazaar coast. He was speaking after visiting Chellanam and meeting people’s representatives who expressed concern over the rising sea level and its consequences in the coming monsoon season.

Mr. Maxi said that the preparations for laying geotextile tubes like erecting the foundation on levelled coastal stretch had begun on Monday. Two 50-horsepower pumps would be erected to pump sand to fill geotextile tubes, he said. Orders had been given to speed up the work, he added.

He said that if weather conditions permitted and if rains did not intensify after June 20, more coastal stretches would be identified for shore protection work using the same technique.

“The work has been tendered for laying geotextile tubes for 1.10 km at a cost of ₹7.5 crore plus 20% more considering the delay in taking up the work after it was tendered earlier this year,” Mr. Maxi said.

Members of Pachima Kochi Theera Samrakshana Samiti said on Monday that the project to lay geotextile tubes was inaugurated by Minister for Fisheries J. Mercykutty Amma in May 2018 after the cyclonic storm Ockhi caused extensive damage on the coastal areas of Chellanam in December 2017. A promise was then made that the work would be completed before the 2018 rainy season. However, the work was stalled for various reasons and a contract awarded earlier was cancelled after inordinate delay in launching the work.

Jinson Veluthamannunkal, member of the Theera Samrakshana Samiti, expressed hope that at least a portion of the shore protection structure would be completed before the rains.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar, who was scheduled to visit Chellanam on Monday, called off the visit later, claimed Joseph Arakkal of Chellanam Janakeeya Vedhi. The Minister was scheduled to inaugurate the work and he would visit the site within a day or two, Mr. Joseph said.

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