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Govt to protect sinking Munroe Thuruth

Govt to protect sinking Munroe Thuruth

Thiruvananthapuram: The State government Tuesday said it would seek scientific solutions to conserve Munroe Thuruth, an island village in Kollam district, which is facing the threat of sinking due to rising sea level and erosion post tsunami.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today told the state Assembly that the government would take all possible measures to protect Thuruth and assured to consider a special package for its conservation and development. Formed by the backwaters of Ashtamudi Lake and Kallada River about 27 kms away from Kollam, the island is named after British administrative head of erstwhile Travancore kingdom, Colonel John Munroe. Vijayan said Munroe island had suffered wide destruction in the tsunami of 2004. The agriculture and fishing sectors had suffered the worst. "Rising water level due to high tide and seepage of saline water from Astamudi Lake are the main threat which the place is facing now," he said, adding that not only houses, but roads and pathways in the island were destroyed due to the phenomenon.

The Chief Minister was replying to a calling attention by Kovoor Kunjumon MLA on difficulties being faced by people living in Munroe Thuruth due to its gradual submerging.

"A technical institution like Centre for Earth Science Studies should be entrusted with the task of conducting a scientific study to find out a permanent solution for this. It is essential for the existence of the island," he said. "It is under the active consideration of the government," Vijayan said, adding that construction of bunds to check the salinity ingress and efforts to plant mangroves were the other initiatives being undertaken. Kunjumon said over 10,000 people are living in the sinking island.

"Over 400 families were forced to leave the island.The agriculture sector has collapsed in the place, which was once known for coconut and rice cultivation. Local inhabitants are suffering from skin diseases also due to the salinity issues," he said.

Low-lying areas of Munroe Thuruth are facing the threat of submerging in high tides after the 2004 Tsunami.

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