Kerala

The risk of living along the deadliest coastline in State

Along the riskiest Kothi coastline is the tile-thatched house of N.V. Jerseena, 32. She lives in a packed fishermen colony whose bordering seawall gets pounded by mighty sea waves.

Hers is among the 41 families here that are forced to live a minimal life so that they do not lose much to the vagaries of the sea.

In Kerala’s northern coast, Kozhikode is most vulnerable to sea erosion with 2,709 families living under the threat now. While the district has lost about 80 metres of coast to the sea, just 273 of the affected families are willing to relocate.

“Moving to a remote place where land is costly is impossible for us. It is also tough to travel from such locations to harbours with the fish implements,” says K.V. Basheer, a fisherman from Nainamvalappu, an area that has been badly hit. He says the offers from the government are hardly attractive for a sudden shift. 

The sentiment is almost the same in Malappuram district where there are 1,806 families settled along the riskiest coastline. So far only 157 families have accepted the State government’s aid for relocation. Though 1,143 families are willing for the same, it may take several years to fulfil their dream. 

 Children showing the riskiest stretch of the Kothi coastline in Kozhikode.

Children showing the riskiest stretch of the Kothi coastline in Kozhikode. | Photo Credit: K. Ragesh

“People are ready to shift if they get a convenient spot closer to the harbour,” points out P.K. Alavi, an elderly fisherman from Tanur in Malappuram. He feels many are uncomfortable with the relocation plan as they have already learnt to cope with the challenges.

In Kannur, the sea erosion threat looms over 1,583 families. Yet, only 118 families have registered their names to cooperate with the relocation plan. Only 30 houses are now under different stages of construction. 

Though the number of affected families is comparatively less in Kasaragod, there are 1,230 families in need of help. However, 540 families have already agreed to shift. Meanwhile, many picture a windfall when their land gets acquired for coastal highway projects.  

Fisheries Deputy Director P.P. Ranjini says the department has made all possible efforts to convince the reluctant families about the risk in continuing at their present locations. “They are not happy with the idea of demolishing their existing house. If they accept the package, they will have to move out from the existing land,” she points out. 


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Printable version | Jun 18, 2022 1:41:07 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/the-risk-of-living-along-the-deadliest-coastline-in-state/article65427223.ece