KERALA

Sea surge leads to tension

Staff Reporter

KOCHI: A sea surge on Friday midnight caused moments of tension along the Chellanam coast, still reeling under the impact of last year's devastating tsunami.

Many houses were flooded, but no damage or casualty has been reported. On being alerted by 1 a.m., the police were mobilised. However, the water receded in a couple of hours, said a policeman at Kannamali Police Station.

People expressed ire over the delay in beginning work on a seawall to protect the coast from such surges of the sea.

"The work has been tendered and agreements have been signed. We cannot change the contractor now; so, we have asked the contractor to speed up the work," said Minister for Fisheries and Sports Dominic Presentation.

Steps such as blacklisting of the contractor would be considered if he failed to complete the work on time. The tsunami-related works would be completed before the month-end, he said.

The panchayat members are now planning to meet the District Collector and request him to speed up the work.

"There are rumours that the present rise in water is caused by a low-pressure formation along the eastern coast, and this has frightened the residents," said K.D. Prasad, Chellanam panchayat president.

The panchayat had erected temporary walls using sand after the tsunami.

"This has been washed off by rising waters last night," said Mr. Prasad.

The residents of Chellanam have now learnt to live with the fear. "Though we are all frightened, no one has moved out of their houses. In fact, preparations are going on for a social function at one of the houses that has been flooded last night," said Elsie Ummachan, panchayat member.

The water breached the coast in many areas, such as Gonduparambu, Chalakkadu, Maruvakkadu and Kandekadu fishing gap.