Kollam: Ghost of a dredger haunts residents

Ship washed ashore remains unremoved despite local resistance.

KOLLAM: The residents of Kakkathoppe along the Coastal Kollam are yet to get rid of their nightmare, the dredger ship Hansita that beached ashore nearly a year back. Despite several protests, the authorities have paid least attention to remove it. The ship beached on June 25 last year has caused the deadly waves to gnaw away the shores forcing fishermen folks to abandon their hamlets. The Government had filed a petition with the Kerala High Court seeking a favourable order to ask the ship owners to take charge of removing the ship from the coast. Meanwhile, it is learnt that the ship owners eye on claiming the insurance amount, keeping local residents at the receiving end.

“As the first anniversary of the ship washed ashore is nearing, the residents of Kakkathoppe plan to continue our protests. We suspect a foul play between the the Government and the ship owners in not settling the issue. As many as ten families in the shore lost their houses because of the huge waves caused by the ship. They were not rehabilitated properly and are with relatives’ houses now,” Jayan Michael of Kakkathoppu samrakshana samiti told DC. The change in sea current owing to the Monsoons has caused the shore to extend further. The works to construct breakwaters in the area has reached nowhere. The already dumped bolsters have been washed away by the sea. “The people can’t survive in the area as Monsoon intensifies,” Mr. Jayan has added.

The High Court had earlier sanctioned 45 days’ time to the ship operator Megha shipping company to remove the ship from the spot where it got trapped. However, the ship authorities have failed to tow the ship within the time limit given by the court. The technical support given by the Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd also failed to execute the purpose. The residents of Kakkathoppu have staged several protests including NH blockade protest and hunger strike demanding immediate removal of the ship, but in vein. Technical issues have made the ship to anchor off shore near Kollam port since last three years as the ship authorities failed to pay the wharfage charges which had exceeded Rs. 40 lakhs. Hansita is a Chinese ship that was brought to Kollam port by the Indian company Megha shipping on March 26, 2013.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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