Paradip, September 23 (LocalWire): Delay in dredging at the Mahanadi river mouth is severely impacting the livelihood of the fishing community in the Paradip fishing harbor.
According to sources, since the Mahanadi river channel is choked, the floodwater could not be released through its mouth smoothly turning it into a danger zone with numerous fishing boats capsizing every month.
The heavy silting is also impacting the fishing harbor and infrastructure since the onslaught of river water is also leading to landslide and soil erosion in the nearby areas.
“The Mahanadi river mouth was last dredged almost 20 years back and though the Paradip Port Trust authority had initiated dredging, the contracting agency stopped midway in 2018,” Odisha Marine Fish Producers’ Association (OMFPA) president Sumant Biswal said.
OMFPA officials indicate that for hassle-free movement of vessels and crafts, the basin needs to have a depth of five meters.
However, with the reduced to two meters due to soil and sand deposits, the local fishing community has been facing difficulties to navigate during approach and exit from the harbour.
Sources reveal that the Fishing Harbour Management Committee (FHMC) and fishery department had sought the advice the experts of the Central Institute of Coastal Engineering for Fishery (CICEF) in 2011 to prepare a comprehensive master plan for renovation and maintenance of the fishing harbour.
The CICEF had conducted a survey and prepared a master plan, including the plan to dredge the mouth of Mahanadi as its channel was heavily silted.
According to the Paradip Fishing Harbor manager Madhumay Samal, a Kolkota-based agency was assigned to project of dredging.
“It conducted only 100 to 150 meters dredging operation on Mahanadi river mouth but failed to complete the operation due to rough sea and high tide,” he said, adding that steps should be taken to dredge the mouth of river Mahanadi as its channel is heavily silted.
Meanwhile, leaders of the fishing community have sought the intervention of the Paradip Port Trust authority to award the contract to another agency or the Dredging Corporation of India to ensure an early solution of the problem.