Bhubaneswar, March 4 (Localwire): Coastal erosion continues to be a major challenge for the state government in districts such as Kendrapara, Puri and Ganjam.
Though the geo-tube wall erected at Pentha village in Kendrapara in 2016 was able check the erosion threat to an extent, villages like Satbhaya continue to be at the mercy of the waves.
Things turned so bad at Satbhaya sometime ago that local residents had to be relocated at a place called Bagapatia a few kilometres from their village.
Even the temple of the local deity, Panchuvarahi was moved to the new address.
More than 36 per cent of the state’s 480 km coastline is facing the threat of erosion, the phenomenon also being visible on the Puri beach and along the Puri-Konark marine drive apart from certain areas of Ganjam district.
The seaside town of Puri saw tidal waves eating parts of the beach and damaging the road running parallel to it in 2006.
Marauding sea also played havoc on the beach in 2016. Authorities sought to contain the damage by dumping boulders and sand bags along the beach.
Similarly parts of Ganjam district have been seriously affected by the problem. K. Alleya, a fisherman from Sanaarjapalli in Ganjam, said several villages including his own were being threatened by the marauding sea waves. “ The administration must take immediate steps to save the people,” he added.
Experts say that geo-tubes were an option to contain the threat of erosion but it was not economically viable to repeat the Pentha experiment in other parts of the state facing the problem.
Made of synthetic material geo-tubes are filled with sand and placed at the damaged site to stop the forward movement of waves.
The wall at Pentha, the first of its kind in the state, came up at a cost of Rs.32.95 crore which makes it an unsustainable model for a resource-constrained state like Odisha.
“ It is too costly for a state like ours Odisha. We should start looking for cheaper alternatives,” said former environment director, Bhagirathi Behera.
Besides, geo-tubes are not completely flawless. Sometimes they burst open under excess pressure. One of the tubes had similarly burst while the wall at Pentha was coming up, delaying the work by a few months.
Behera said the state needed a long term strategy to check the menace of coastal erosion. “ Though we have deployed experts in the past to study the phenomenon we need to examine the problem more closely and then come up with strategies that offer a long term solution,” he averred.