Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government has urged the Centre to make suitable amendments to rules to bring sea erosion under disaster management, a state minister said Friday.
After a commemorative meeting held near Kollam on the 10th anniversary of the 2004 tsunami, Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash told IANS that the state government had made a request for a change in rules to bring sea erosion under disaster management.
The meeting was organised by Alappatu panchayat in Kollam district.
"We have submitted this request to the Centre and also the Planning Commission and unconfirmed reports now indicate that our request has been accepted," said Prakash.
In Kerala, which has a 590-km-long coast line, sea erosion has been a perennial problem as huge chunks of land are lost every year due to this natural phenomenon.
Alappuzha Lok Sabha member K.C.Venugopal told the meeting that he has raised the issue in parliament, and said it would cost Rs. 5000 crores to keep the entire land area in Kerala free from sea erosion. He added that he is looking for help from the Centre.
A decade ago when the tsunami struck, 142 people died in the Alappatu panchayat in Kollam and 28 in the Arattupuzha panchayat in Alappuzha.
"At our memorial meeting held in our panchayat more than 500 people cutting across political parties took part and the mood was sombre. Many of the speakers reminded the senior political leaders present to ensure that construction of sea walls to protect the people is finished at the earliest because even after a decade only 50 percent of it has been completed in our panchayat," Alappatu panchayat president R. Raja Priyan told IANS.
It was also pointed out that a bridge was built with tsunami funds over a year back, but the approach road is yet to be completed.
"I have told them that if they speed up the formalities for land acquisition for the approach road, I will clear it instantly," said Prakash.
K.Karunakaran, president of Arattupuzha panchayat, said their commemorative meeting was attended by about 250 people and the general impression was that even after a decade, the construction of sea walls and pullimuttu (breakwaters) was progressing at a snail's pace.
"If one looks at the progress of the safety measures, one has a feeling that the authorities are yet to learn from the tsunami waves that caused disaster in our village. But definitely we are thankful for the construction of more than 1600 new homes for our villagers. We all wish the government will speed up the construction work of sea walls" said Karunakaran.
Various political parties also held similar commemorative meetings across the two most affected districts.