Monday, January 30, 2012

Koraikuppam fishermen want houses near sea

By G Saravanan
Published in The New Indian Express, Chennai on Jan 30, 2012:
CHENNAI: More than 130 families of fishermen, living in Tsunami-battered houses in Koraikuppam, a coastal hamlet near Pulicat in Ponneri Taluk limits, have appealed to Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to construct new houses for them on nearby high ground.
Though an non-government organisation had constructed about 100 houses for these families post-tsunami, they remain unoccupied for over four years, as they are located far away from the shoreline and are hence unsuitable for carrying out their traditional fishing activities.
When the authorities were finalising an area amidst agricultural lands for the new houses, we objected to the location as fishermen cannot live in interior land as it is natural for us to live by the sea,” Raji Chettiyar, village head of the fishing hamlet, told Express.
However, the officials, gave scant regard to our livelihood options, completed the housing project in a hurry, Raji added.
As the previous Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government failed to hear the grievances of the fishermen despite numerous pleas, the villages has written to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa hoping for her intervention.
Speaking to Express, K Bharathi, president of South Indian Fishermen Welfare Association (SIFWA) who wrote the letter to the Chief Minister on behalf of the affected, said: “The fishermen families, who are feeling cheated with the attitude of the previous DMK government despite representing the issue time and again, hopes for a kind-hearted intervention from Chief Minister Amma.
The tsunami-affected have suggested a new location to the State government, a higher ground (vacant land belonging to the Revenue Department) along the shore in Koraikuppam fishing hamlet.

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