The old port area here has been the main fishing and commercial port of the coast. For the first time in the history of this dock, a capital dredging programme will be undertaken at a cost of Rs 29 crore. Under this plan, desilting will be undertaken for a depth of seven metres. This will give a big boost to fishing activity.
The plan will be executed by the Capital Dredging of Old Port of the state department of ports under the central government’s ‘Sagar Mala’ project. The cost of this project will be met at the rate of Rs 14.5 crore each by the state and the central governments.
The plan has got administrative and technical approval from the department and also clearance of the environment and CRZ departments. The public hearing of the people’s grievances was also held for undertaking desilting work. Tender was floated twice, but was rejected. Tender will be called again by the end of this month, it is learnt.
At the time of breakwater maintenance in 1980, dredging up to a depth of four metres had been undertaken. Thereafter, the depth was maintained at three to four metres. Five years back, dredging was undertaken for a depth of four metres. Now the dredging is being undertaken for the development of commercial port from where ships to Lakshadweep taking various goods can sail off.
The current depth of four metres will be desilted to a depth of seven metres from the dock till the estuary. No other work is envisaged. Tendered work will be completed in about a year.
Once the dredging up to seven metres is undertaken, even big vessels can come to the dock, as against only mini ships from Lakshadweep coming now. However, fishing boats will be benefited the most, said junior engineer of the ports department, Praveen Kumar P Y. Dredging will also make available 11.65 lac cubic metres of sand. This sand-mixed mud called silt clay, which will be extracted during the dredging operation, will be deposited at Someshwar for reinforcing soil for a height of three metres to a length of three km and width of 125 metres.