People in Tenka Yermal village, about 22km from Udupi, live in constant fear of the roaring sea waves, which are just a few metres from hitting their homes.
Sea erosion has damaged nearly 200 metres of the Padukere-Hejmady Road, which runs along the coastline here. Nearly half the width of the road, which belongs to the Department of Fisheries, has been consumed by the sea. The proximity of the waves is spreading a sense of panic among the people.
Tenka Yermal is among the 13 places affected by severe sea erosion in the last two days in Udupi district. Other affected regions include Bada Yermal, Udyavara-Padukere, Kotathattu, Kundapur-Kodi, Mannur-Padukere and Dombe, said Executive Engineer in the Department of Ports and Fisheries T.S. Rathod.
Though the Department of Ports have been putting boulders to secure the Padukere-Hejmady Road, people feel that the measure is too little too late. Many people alleged the breakwater constructed by the Udupi Power Corporation Ltd (UPCL) for its pipelines is to blame for the sea erosion in the area.
Pushpalatha Suvarna, a homemaker, whose house was being hit by waves, was in tears. “The boulders are being brought and put into the sea once in three hours. Let the authorities put the boulders every hour. Where will I go with my two children?” she wailed.
Narayana Suvarna, a fisherman, and Bharati Kanchan, a homemaker, held the UPCL breakwater responsible for the erosion. “Sea erosion here was never this severe. The removal of the breakwater is the only solution,” they said.
President of Tenka Yermal Yuvak Mandal Dharmaraj said that over 50 coconut trees had been washed away and nearly eight houses were in danger of being damaged due to sea erosion.
“The boulders to prevent sea erosion should have been put on a war footing. Instead, the work is progressing at snail’s pace. We have already submitted a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner M.T. Reju and District Incharge Minister Vinay Kumar Sorake, seeking removal of the UPCL breakwater,” he said.
Mr. Rathod said he had written to the Deputy Commissioner M.T. Reju to seek a technical report on the issue of sea erosion. Both Mr. Rathod and Mr. Reju refused to comment on the allegations on UPCL breakwater, saying they would wait for the report’s conclusions.