Fishing hamlets' residents to get relief from seawater intrusion

Hundreds of residents of the fishing hamlets along the Ennore Expressway may soon get relief from seawater intrusion as the Water Resources Department (WRD) plans to build groynes to reclaim the shoreline.

Officials of the WRD said that the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has already provided groynes in a stretch of nearly 10 km between Royapuram and Manali. “We are planning to build groynes for a distance of 10 km along the road beyond Manali. Parts of the road also get washed away during monsoon,” said an official.

Groynes would be built at 10 locations near fishing hamlets such as Chinnakuppam, Nettukuppam, Indira Gandhi Kuppam, Kasikoil Kuppam and Thalangkuppam. The structures to be put up perpendicular to the seashore would protect it from further erosion and also help in retrieving the shoreline lost over the past two decades.

The WRD would also strengthen the rubble mound sea wall, which has been provided to control sea erosion, at the stretch along Thalangkuppam.

The Institute of Hydraulics and Hydrology, Poondi, is preparing a report about the exact location, the size and weight of groynes to be laid according to the tidal effect.

The Rs.35 crore project is expected to start in two or three months and completed in a year. The groyne fields are expected to help in sand accretion in the affected areas within 15 years, the officials said.

Welcoming WRD's move to provide groynes, residents of fishing hamlets said that the shoreline has been rapidly shrinking in the past 15 years. Chinnakuppam and Periyakuppam are the worst affected.

T. Joseph, a resident of Nettukuppam, said the shoreline, which extended to 800 metre a decade ago, shrunk to 500 m before the tsunami in 2004. Now, it is just 100 m. Last year, the incursion of seawater was as much as 250 m on the land at Nettukuppam during the ‘Jal' cyclone, he said.

The quality of groundwater has also deteriorated owing to salt water intrusion. The government must expedite the project and also relocate the groynes beyond the stretch of reclaimed shoreline wherever necessary, residents said.