Dredged silt from harbour causing problems to fishermen and affecting works
The ongoing dredging work at the mouth and basin of the Mappila Bay fishing harbour here will be accelerated as orders have been issued for allowing the Harbour Engineering Department to dispose of the large quantity of dredged sediments.
The order granting the HED permission to sell the dredged silt now accumulated on the dumping yard near the harbour is expected to give relief to fishermen on board fishing boats as they enter and exit the harbour and also to expedite the dredging works affected by lack of space for keeping the dredged material.
The contractor who was earlier awarded the contract in March last year to remove the accumulated silt totalling 24,000 cubic metres at the rate of ₹216 per cubic metre removed only 12,320 cubic metre silt.
The Chief Engineer of the HED had submitted a proposal to the Fisheries Minister Mercykutty Amma at a meeting held on October 10 last year to discuss issues related to the fishing harbour. The proposal recommended sale of the dredged soil to the public by the HED at the same rate.
The urgency of removal of the dredged silt arose following disruption of dredging work due to lack of space for keeping the silt and the hassle caused by the accumulated silt to fishing boats. The Chief Engineer proposed that a decision to sell the silt to whoever required it would easily clear the heap of silt on the dumping yards of the harbour and allow the halted dredging works to be resumed.
The government’s order approved the proposal on condition that priority would be given to applicants from below poverty line category for construction purposes. Quantity of silt to be allotted to each applicant would be fixed, the order said.
Earlier, Ports Minister Ramachandran Kadannappally had sought the Fisheries Minister’s intervention to clear the silt from the dumping yard.
Meeting to chalk out details
“A meeting to be held on January 4 will chalk out the details of the procedure to be followed for the disposal of the silt as per the order,” said HED Assistant Executive Engineer Sunil Samuel. It is for the first time that sand is being sold through the department directly, he added.
The removal of the dredged silt from the dumping yard was stalled as there was no huge demand for the silt for construction purposes, HED sources said adding that the dredged material, however, could be used for filling purposes.
The dredging contract was given to ensure hassle-free movement of fishing boats in and out of the harbour.
Sandbanks outside the basin and silt in the basin had led to incidents of capsizing of fishing boats.