Thiruvananthapuram: Ten years after the project was conceived, breakwater scheme is less likely to be realized.
The state government has cancelled the administrative sanction for the project, which was issued in 2015. Sanction was given for constructing two structures measuring 220m at a cost of Rs 23.50 crore.
The project is being shelved owing to local protests. In 2018, harbour engineering department had awarded tenders and signed an agreement, however the contractor could never start work.
“The residents raised concerns that northern shore of Veli would erode and that waste from Veli-Akkulam would directly reach sea and affect livelihood of coastal population. Around 5,000 residents had protested against the project,” an official of harbour engineering department said.
He added that the project was key to prevent waterlogging in East Fort and Thampanoor and that it could have helped in elimination of weeds in the backwaters.
District collector had held a meeting in 2017 to resolve the issue but a consensus could not be reached.
The land was handed over to the contractor but with work being delayed for more than six months, the contractor communicated to the officials that he may be relieved of the works.
In case of further delay, the department also faced the chance of dealing with arbitration for violation of contract. The department was forced to cancel the agreement and now government has cancelled the administrative sanction indicating that project has been dropped.
The project was first approved in 2009. In May 2015, the then district collector and chief secretary had stressed on revamping the breakwater project at Veli so that the water flowing along the widened drains as part of Operation Anantha could be directed towards Veli without any hitch.
The project that had been shelved for years was revived anticipating high tide during monsoon. Water from three canals Ulloor, Pattom and Amayizhanjan converge at Kannamoola and is discharged into Veli backwaters through Akkulam.
Sandbars are formed naturally between the backwaters and the sea and in case of high tide, water is forced back and it surges in the reverse direction and usually sandbars are manually broken at Veli and Poonthura to control the tide.
The project prepared by harbour engineering department had suggested formation of an artificial breakwater chain that would prevent deposit of sand and formation of sandbars. However the project was never considered for implementation even when Thampanoor, East Fort and Kannamoola flooded during heavy rain.
In 2009, the tender was awarded and agreement was signed however lack of environmental clearance for the project led to the project being put off.
The Veli breakwater project was conceived by the Harbour engineering department in 2009 at a cost of Rs 12 crore. In 2015 a revised estimate was prepared at Rs 25 crore.