Residents seek early completion of work to check sea erosion

The process of filling tubes has not been taken up allegedly due to the inadequate deployment of dredger and sand pump.

The process of filling tubes has not been taken up allegedly due to the inadequate deployment of dredger and sand pump.  

Memories of Cyclone Ockhi continue to haunt people of Chellanam

Work on laying geotextile tubes as a shore protection measure in areas most affected by sea erosion in Chellanam has been stalled, forcing residents to appeal to the district administration to complete the work before the onset of rain.

Father John Kandathiparambil, rector of the Velankanni Church at Maruvakkad, says the work has already been delayed by more than a year, and “we fear it may not be completed before the onset of rain”. His feelings find an echo in the village where two people lost their lives during Cylone Ockhi in November 2017.

The Velankanni Church nestles close to the sea shore, and rough seas threaten it constantly. Dozens of homes face the same fate during events like Ockhi, says V. Ginson of Paschima Kochi Theera Samrakshna Samiti, which spearheaded a wide range of public protests demanding permanent shore protection measures in the wake of the 2017 cyclonic storms. According to him, work was stalled because of inadequate equipment. Geotextile tubes have been laid out on a 150-metre stretch on the Maruvakkadu beach close to the Velankanni Church. However, the process of filling the tubes has not been taken up as the dredger and sand pump deployed for the purpose are not adequate, alleged Father Kandathiparambil.

Sources in the Irrigation Department, which is overseeing the work, have conceded that the equipment being deployed may not be adequate. They say the tubes should be filled with sand dredged from the sea. However, the contractor has not been able to find enough sand and has called for a sand survey which was not within the purview of the present contract.

Sand filling work began on February 2 and not even a single tube has been filled to capacity as the design prescribes. Residents fear a threat to their homes with the rainy season nearing.

District Collector K. Mohammed Y. Safirulla is scheduled to make a site visit on Wednesday even as a high-level meeting has been scheduled later this month in the State capital, sources said.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 4:39:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/residents-seek-early-completion-of-work-to-check-sea-erosion/article26231533.ece

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