The Water Resources Department has constructed 25 metres of sea wall along Ennore Expressway near Nettukuppam to protect the fishing hamlet from further sea erosion. Last week, the beach lost 30 metres along the coastline.

There has been a delay in laying a 100-metre-long sea wall due to lack of boulders. There are not enough quarries, an official said.

“We get only six loads of boulders daily while we need 20 loads to complete the work in 10 days,” he said.

The sea wall at Nettukuppam has been incomplete since work first began in 2004. Back then, paucity of funds was the reason for the delay.

The sudden erosion of the coast in Nettukuppam is not an isolated incident. Fishermen from Kadalore Periyakuppam in Kancheepuram district reported that 30 metres of beach vanished overnight on Friday, a day before the full moon, about the same time as the Nettukuppam erosion.

S. Mahesh, a fisherman, said a wall built to protect the fish landing centre being built at Periyakuppam had also been damaged. “The sea has been rough the last week and we have not gone to sea since then. About two metres of sand was washed away after Thane cyclone exposing the base of the protective wall,” he said.

“It might be a localised phenomenon. We are not sure what caused it. We are studying both incidents,” said a source in the Fisheries Department.

However, sea erosion is not new to the East Coast. With ports coming up everywhere, accretion and erosion of sand have been happening since the 1970s. Sea erosion in north Chennai worsened after the construction of the Chennai Port.

According to WRD sources, so far some 350 hectares of land have been lost along the Chennai coast in the past four decades.

Preventive measures such as construction of ten groynes in the stretch between Royapuram and Ramakrishna Nagar along the Ennore Expressway by the National Highways Authority of India and the Tamil Nadu Road Development Company have helped reclaim the shoreline by a few metres. The department hopes to reclaim shoreline up to 130 metres in two decades.

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