There are many background factors making the whole situation worse. The Government of India, in collaboration with Russia, is constructing India's biggest Nuclear Power Station in the Tirunelveli District, at a cost of 17000 crore. Yet India's natural assets of hot sun, heavy wind, seawater waves, river water and vast quantities of refuse, would make it easy to generate electricity in other ways.
Any nuclear power station has a life of only 20-25 years, and the hazardous waste afterwards, containing radiation, represents further long-term danger to this area of coastline. Local industries already dump their waste products into the water, such as chlorine and sulphur which turns the water a yellow-ish colour. Cancer and tuberculosis are on the increase among fish workers - including the children.
The effluents of the new Nuclear power plant will kill sea creatures in the vicinity, further complicating a situation where the existing fishing comunity is struggling to survive. The Indian government provides petrol at subsidised rates to foreign intensive fishing ships (but not to the native fishermen) and these ships take only the big fish, damaging the entire seabed by the methods they use, as well as throwing the dead, rotten, small fish back into the water and polluting it further.
The mining of garnet sand (red sand mixed with uranium) creates further problems. According to the directives of the Coastal Zone Regulation Act, no activity is allowed within 100 meters from the shore to the high tide area. Yet somehow private companies dig the shore 10 feet deep and remove *all* of the sand.
Consequently there is no sand on our beaches - in fact no beach at all. Villagers have tried to protect the churches from sea erosion (the fishing community is strongly Christian) by building a wall around the church in two villages, but this hasn't helped and seawater enters the doorsteps of the houses and the churches.
There is no longer any place to harbour the fishing catamarans on the beach - because there is no beach. The boats have to be left to float day and night on the sea. When there is rain at high tide, the catamarans are dashed against each other and damaged. This is a community in crisis.