Photo Credit : picssr
Valiyathura Pier a 51 year old, 703-foot pier and the warehouses at the back of it are relics of it prosper day when up to 50 cargo ships at a time were called here. It was opened in 1956 by the advisor to the Rajapramukh Dr. P.S. Rao. It was the only port along the South Kerala coast.
It is supported by 127 concrete masses; the pier had four 3-tonne cranes and one 10-tonne crane to unload cargo from the ships. Since the pier was located in shallow waters, heavy ships had to anchor in the deep sea and transport their ware in smaller boats.
With the development of the Kochi port with facilities for berthing of huge cargo ships, Valiyathura lost its prominence.
All five cranes were dismantled and sold as scrap as abandonment and constant exposure to salty winds which eroded their structure. The four warehouses were rented out to industrial units on the Veli belt. The rails used by trolleys to transport cargo to the warehouses had corroded away.
The pier which consumed 571 tonnes of cement and 250 tonnes of steel costs about one million to build.
Today, the fishermen along the coast use the weakened structure to launch their catamarans during the rough monsoon months, when the rough sea makes the beaches inaccessible. They then jump into the sea and swim to the catamarans.
Waves here very rarely fall below one metre, and often exceed four metres during the monsoon period of May to October.
There are many anglers who occupy strategic points on the pier, holding on to their line patiently waiting to hook a fish.
Recently, one of the weakened piles on the right head of the 51-year-old pier developed a crack leading to the collapse of a platform measuring about 20 square feet. And also a portion of the sidewall gave in to the powerful waves lashing the structure and plunged into the sea.
Currently visitors are prohibited from going out on Valiathura pier. In 2007, the Harbour Engineering Department announced a project for its reconstruction.