For fishermen of Mogaveerapatna in Ullal here, living in their houses by the beach during monsoon is turning into a dangerous prospect. With sea erosion evident in effect, residents fear that a strong squall could wash away the houses.

During nights, particularly when strong winds prevail, the waves climb over the wall of boulders (breakwater) and even over the roof of houses and flood the area, said Chitra B., a homemaker, living in the area. “It is a scary experience to have waves surround your house. The walls and furniture shake, and the sound of the wave crashing on the roof is terrifying,” she said.

Even though she feared the sea would engulf the house in the coming years, Ms. Chitra said her family could not afford to relocate.

Walking along the beach in Ullal, it is clear with the kind of damage the surging sea has done. Houses by the sea are either crumbling or have crumbled. A waterline, marked by the distinct undulating pattern of refuse, is seen even around hundred metres from the existing breakwater level.

Almost unanimously, residents said the surging of the sea into the village was a recent phenomenon. “Only in the last four or five years has the water-level increased towards our houses. And every year, the sea seems to be getting rougher and moving further inwards,” said Kishore Putran, a fisherman.

Yeshpal K. said that a decade ago, the sea was farther back than its current level. “When we went out fishing, we had to run from where the breakwater stones are currently at, to the sea over the hot beach sand. Over the years, the sea has come towards the village,” he said.

With the current breakwater being rendered ineffective, fisherman Shivappa Bangera said that the Government should make haste in its “age-old” promise of augmenting the height of the pile of stones.

Temporary relief

Deputy Commissioner N.S. Channappa Gowda, who visited the area on Friday, said the Fisheries Department had requested the Revenue Department to arrange for a quick relief of Rs. 50 lakh, which would be used to pile granite blocks in “critical” areas where the sea had broken through.

On the non-implementation of the breakwater scheme which has been in the pipeline for the past few years, he said: “The project needs funding from the Asian Development Bank, who have asked us to reissue tenders as the tenders called last attracted only one bidder. We are waiting for the approval of a bidder, and then the construction of breakwaters can start.” However, Mr. Gowda added that the construction of the breakwaters was unlikely to begin this year.

Keywords: sea erosion

More In: Mangalore