The opposition UDF on Tuesday staged a walkout in the Kerala Assembly protesting the Left government’s alleged reluctance to discuss issues relating to the coastal belt, which was severely battered by heavy rains recently. The Congress-led opposition demanded that the House take it up for discussion as it was a matter affecting at least one crore people living in the coastal areas of the state.
Kundara legislator P C Vishnunath (Congress) sought notice for an adjournment motion seeking to provide an immediate financial assistance to the coastal dwellers to tide over the ongoing crisis. People in the coastal region, especially the fishermen community were in dire straits as severe weather and coastal erosion have devastated their lives and livelihood, he pointed out.
Stressing the need for more scientific methods to protect the shores, he said the coasts can no longer be protected through traditional measures and sea walls would not be enough to solve the issues. The geo-tube project, which had failed in the coastal hamlet of Chellanam, was being implemented at Shangumukham, a sought-after local beach here, which was widely damaged recently due to sea incursion and incessant rains,the MLA said.
The situation at Chellanam in Ernakulam district was dire, he said adding that the Shangumukham beach was completely damaged. “It has been four years since the Shangumukham road was washed away. During these years, the government has done nothing for its reconstruction.
If the authorities do not stay alert, there will be a great danger during the upcoming monsoon season," Vishnunath said. Admitting that the issues of coastal sector was of utmost seriousness,Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said extreme erosion was identified at least in 10 areas across the state.
Noting that his government would make serious interventions to protect the entire coastal belt of the southern state, he said a permanent solution would be worked out in the next five years to resolve issues related to sea incursion and rough sea. “Any issue of fishermen will be seen as the problem of the entire state," Vijayan added.
Fisheries Minister Saji Cheriyan said the coastal protection measures would be strengthened once the rains subside. The problems of each region need to be studies separately to find out a permanent solution, he added.
As speaker M B Rajesh denied leave for the motion based on the government reply, the opposition members protested and staged a walkout.