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Tsunami Funds Diverted To Tourism Projects
December 25, 2011
 
Tsunami Funds Diverted To Tourism Projects


http://expressbuzz.com/states/kerala/Tsunami-funds-diverted-to-tourism-projects/346735.html

25 December 2011

Biju E Paul, ALAPPUZHA:

The Central Government had sanctioned Rs 1441.75 crore to rebuild the costal areas in Kerala. In October 2006, the then Revenue Minister K P Rajendran announced the scheme in the Assembly.

Areas like housing, drinking water, power, social welfare, costal protection and construction of roads and bridges were included in the scheme.

Though bridges and buildings were completed, costal protection and social welfare remained on paper, said Manikuttan Thekkepurath. A special scheme of Rs 40 crore was prepared for Aarattupuzha, but not implemented, Manikuttan said.

The State Government distributed financial assistance to fisher folk to rebuild their houses. In Alappuzha, about `98 crore has been spent for the construction of houses, documents available in the disaster management wing in the collectorate say. But the construction of houses is still going on in some parts of the district.

In Purakkad, construction is lagging owing to the scarcity of funds. “The government sanctioned Rs 2.5 lakh for each house. But it did not meet the actual expense. The cost of cement and granite increased five fold. So most of the houses are not complete,” said Maheswary, a resident of Purakkad.

Another allegation of the fisher folk was that a major amount was diverted to tourism projects. In Andhakaranazhy near Cherthala the State Government spent more than Rs 30 crore from the tsunami fund on tourism projects.

The demand to construct a sea wall along the 82 km coastal stretch was met partially. In Aarattupuzha and Thrikkunnapuzha the sea wall construction is still going on. There is no wall in Purakkad. Title deeds were distributed after repeated request at the Mass Contact Programme last week.

Disasters are unpredictable, and cannot be prevent by money or power. But the rulers can surely rehabilitate the needy. After the 2004 tsunami, funds were pumped in for rehabilitation. But a major portion of it was used on shopping malls and tourism spots. The needy remain needy.