Rs. 26-crore project to repair, complete wall to protect hamlets from rough seas

Hundreds of families living in fishing hamlets may soon be spared the impact of rough seas during monsoons. The long-pending project to shield the shoreline along the Ennore Expressway with a seawall is set to take off in two months.

The project to repair the existing seawall — a collection of boulders running parallel to the shoreline — and also construct the barrier wherever necessary, was announced in the Assembly last year. However, the project was delayed for want of bidders.

The water resources department (WRD) is now scrutinising tenders received for the Rs.26.58 crore project to repair the seawall running for a distance of 5 km between Nethaji Nagar and Nettukuppam. The seawall along the Ennore Expressway was damaged during the cyclones Thane and Jal.

Several fishing hamlets along the Ennore Expressway face the threat of being washed away when the sea gets rough during monsoons. Once the seawall on the entire stretch is strengthened, nearly 9,000 families in eight villages, including Annai Sivagami Nagar, Chinnakuppam and Thalangkuppam, would be saved from sea incursion.

Officials of the WRD said that the height of the sea wall would be raised by two metres to prevent further erosion of the shoreline. Boulders would be brought from Madurantakam and Chengalpattu for the work.

“We reclaimed a 300-metre long and 15 metre-wide strip of the beach near Nettukuppam when we constructed a seawall a year ago. Last May, several houses were washed away because of erosion.The Rs.2 crore-project has protected about 500 houses in the hamlet.” said an official.

In some places such as Thalangkuppam, portions of the seawall have been washed away or damaged after rains. Of the 19-km long Ennore Expressway, National Highways Authority of India has covered five km from Kasimedu with a seawall and groynes, which would run perpendicular to the shoreline and reduce the intensity of wave action.

The NHAI is also constructing groynes in three locations near Tiruvottiyurkuppam and Bharathiyar Nagar to reclaim beaches and protect the road and adjacent hamlets. A large part of the remaining shoreline is also protected with a seawall by the WRD.

Residents of fishing hamlets said that groynes would be more effective for sand accretion. Lynal Rajamanickam, a resident of Thalangkuppam, said that many fisherfolk were rendered homeless and jobless when seawater entered their villages. More groynes were needed in between Nettukuppam and Thalangkuppam to reclaim the beach. Raising a seawall would help prevent seawater from entering their area, he added,

Officials of the WRD said that a few localities on a two km-stretch do not have seawall. The work would cover those stretches too. The project, which is partially funded by National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development, is expected to be completed by this year-end or early next year.

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