Relief delayed is relief denied
The Kerala Government is nowhere near completing the tsunami rehabilitation schemes. Three and half year after the giant waves hit the Kerala coast, many of the victims are yet to get the houses promised to them. This is a telling commentary on how the Government works.
The government has planned about 18000 houses for fishers on the coast. However, land acquisition is not complete not even for even half of the houses. Only construction of about 4000 houses would start in a month or two. The revised target (March next year) is never going to be achieved.
It is notable that voluntary agencies like the Amrithanandamayi Mutt has completed the construction of houses entrusted to them. Even the Maharastra government completed nearly half of the houses proposed to be gifted by it. Maharastra had signed the memorandum of understanding with Kerala for construction of the house only in April 2007. It could not start work on the remaining houses (about 130 out of 250) yet because of delay in land acquisition by Kerala Government.
A large portion of funds contributed by people into the Chief Minister’s relief fund is going for construction of sea walls. This is no permanent solution even against even sea erosion. If one beach is protected, the waves will lash a nearby beach.
The contractor-politician combine benefits immensely as large quantities of granite would have to be dumped periodically to build and maintain the walls. It also necessitates operation of large number of quarries with adverse consequences to the environment.
Though there are alternatives like planning of mangrove species, Government agencies are not very keen about that since there is less money in it.