Dozens of houses along the coast of Ponnani and adjacent areas were damaged as the turbid Arabian Sea carved into the coast at places where the sea walls were missing. Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan, who represents Ponnani in the Assembly, held an emergency meeting in his chamber and decided to complete the sea-wall construction on a war footing.
Hundreds of people living in the coast at Aliyarpalli, Marakkadavu, Murinjazhi, Puthuponnani, Azhikkal, Veliyankode, Thannithura, Palappetty and Kappirikkad evacuated their houses following the threat of sea erosion. Most of them shifted to their relatives’ houses elsewhere in the region.
District Collector Amit Meena has asked revenue officials to be prepared to deal with any emergency. Relief camps have been set up at ALP School, Anappadi, Ponnani; Fisheries UP School, Palappetty; and Anakath School, Veliyankode. However, none has moved to the relief camp so far. Mr. Meena asked the tahsildars to ensure all facilities, including drinking water, food, toilets, and mattresses at the relief camps.
The Kerala Water Authority has promised to make drinking water available in the areas where the sea has advanced into the coast. District Medical Officer (DMO) K. Sakeena said that wells contaminated by sea water would be subjected to super-chlorination. The Ponnani municipality and Veliyankode and Perumpadappu grama panchayats have geared themselves up to face the sea erosion. The worst coastal erosion has taken place between Azhikkal and Puthuponnani in the Ponnani municipality and some places in Veliyankode and Perumpadappu panchayats.
Hundreds of coconut trees were uprooted in the fury of the sea. Apart from the revenue officials, E.T. Mohammed Basheer, MP, and several political leaders too visited the regions witnessing the worst erosion in this year’s monsoon. Mr. Basheer said that efforts would be initiated to find a permanent solution for the annual sea erosion at Ponnani. He said paucity of funds had delayed the construction of sea walls. Tahsildar M.D. Lalu accompanied Mr. Basheer.
The Communist Party of India (CPI) has demanded immediate relief for those affected by sea erosion. Several CPI leaders led by Kerala Fishermen Welfare Fund Board member A.K. Jabbar visited the affected areas on Wednesday.
Mr. Sreeramakrishnan, after the emergency meeting he convened, said that the election code of conduct was in force for nearly three months, and that had delayed the sea-wall construction. He said ₹67 lakh was sanctioned for the wall.