TAMIL NADU

Sea erosion: fishermen pin hopes on national-level leaders

CONTINUING PROBLEM:The road which was damaged by sea erosion in Killiyoor Assembly constituency.— Photo: R. ARIVANANTHAM

CONTINUING PROBLEM:The road which was damaged by sea erosion in Killiyoor Assembly constituency.— Photo: R. ARIVANANTHAM  

Sea erosion is a cause for concern for fishermen living in coastal villages in Kanyakumari district. Now, election fever has gripped the district, where national parties such as the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party are stronger than or as strong as regional parties.

Hence, the fishermen are hopeful that the problem of sea erosion will be brought to the knowledge of national leaders.

J. Xavier of Poothurai in Thoothur panchayat under Killiyoor Assembly constituency, who lost a portion of his house in sea erosion during June-July 2015, told The Hindu on Thursday he had sent petitions repeatedly to the district administration, government and the MLA.

But nothing had happened, and he was now living in a single-room house with asbestos roof, he noted.

No official visited Poothurai when 82 houses were damaged by sea erosion.

Left with no other option, the fishermen migrated to other hamlets, he said.

Need for groynes

S. Anthony Pillai, a social worker in Poothurai, said that sea erosion could be controlled only with the construction of groynes for 200 metres on the western side, 150 metres on the southern side and 100 metres on the eastern side.

He said that the government had increased the height of a groyne by stacking boulders for about two metres at a cost of Rs. 2.9 crore one year ago.

A resident of the village said that a road connecting Eraviputhanthurai and Vallavilai was completely damaged for a distance of 1.3 km by sea erosion last year, and a nearby prayer hall was facing the threat of destruction.

The road was yet to be repaired and people were taking a detour of 4 to 5 km to reach the main road, he said.

Thoothur panchayat president John Alocious said that a bridge was destroyed during the Tsunami and its redesigning delayed the construction. The work on formation of an approach road and handrails on the bridge was pending, and it would be completed after the election, he said.

Officials of Anti-Sea Erosion Wing could not be contacted, as they were busy with election work.

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