CM promises lasting solution for sea erosion

‘The issue is of utmost seriousness and extreme erosion had been identified in at least 10 areas’

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has assured the Assembly that his government will strive to find a permanent solution in the next five years to address the woes faced by those residing along the shoreline due to sea erosion and natural disasters.

“The issues of the coastal belt were of utmost seriousness and extreme erosion had been identified at least in 10 areas across the State,” Mr. Vijayan said replying to a notice for an adjournment motion moved by Congress legislator P. C. Vishnunath in the Assembly on Tuesday.

In the first adjournment motion moved in the first session of the 15th Assembly, the legislator sought immediate financial assistance to those residing near the shoreline to overcome the crisis arising out of the repeated natural disasters and sea erosion.

Admitting the concerns raised by the legislator, Fisheries Minister Saji Cherian said Geotubes-sand-filled sacks made of natural or synthetic fibres-would be laid off the shore in Shanghumughom in the capital to check sea erosion. The road to the domestic terminal of the international airport has been closed after a major portion of it was engulfed by the sea. Intervening, the Chief Minister said the “government has still not taken a decision on the issue of laying geotubes.”

The Opposition UDF legislators staged a walkout from the House after the Speaker M. B. Rajesh refused permission for the motion on the basis of explanations given by the Chief Minister, Fisheries Minister and Electricity Minister K. Krishnakutty who stood in for Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine.

Earlier, Mr. Vishnunath said the construction of sea walls and groynes will not be able to address the problem and called for more scientific studies and solutions based on the findings. Geotube wall attempted in Chellanam are being used along the Shanghumughom coast, he told the House.

The Congress legislator also highlighted the issues about forecasting. “Fishermen who lost their lives off Vizhinjam had gone out to sea only after the Disaster Management Authority had said it was safe to venture out,” he told the House.

Leader of Opposition V. D. Satheesan while welcoming the Chief Minister’s promise to find a lasting solution, asked what the last Pinarayi Vijayan government had been doing.

“What have you done in the last five years?. Where have you done the annual maintenance? You had sanctioned ₹ 12,000 crore in the last five years but have you done a detailed project report on any of these projects,” Mr. Satheesan asked.

The Leader of the Opposition said the inability to take timely decisions was also resulting in loss of life. “If a decision on removing sand from the mouth of the Vizhinjam port was taken in 2019, we would not have lost lives in Vizhinjam last week,” he added.

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