200 metres of land affected by sea erosion in Kaup–Thottam

Residents of Kaup-Thottam hamlet in Udupi district have been living in fear owing to sea erosion. The temporary sea wall constructed nearly 20 years ago has given away, unable to bear the strong waves. Nearly 200 metres of land has been affected by sea erosion here.

As many as 11 coconut trees were found uprooted by waves on Saturday, while another eight were on the verge of being swept away. What has alarmed them is that erosion has started even before the onset of heavy rain.

Kavita Kotian, a homemaker, said erosion had been taking place for the last 10 days. Though the people had made requests to the officials, their response was lukewarm.

“The boulders were placed nearly 20 years ago. We have been demanding for the last two to three years that more boulders be placed. We have been staying here for a long time, and cannot go anywhere else,” she said.

Arun, who works in a private firm, said the waves had already engulfed nearly 50 metres of land. Many people had lost coconut trees owing to the erosion.

Vanita Poojary, a beedi worker, said the rough waves were sending shivers down people’s spines. Coconut trees were a boon for the poor. “Some people earn their livelihood by selling coconuts. Each coconut gets them Rs. 15 to Rs. 20. With the erosion, they fear their income would be badly affected,” she said.

Mohan Kanchan, member of the Kaup Gram Panchayat, said temporary sea walls did not offer permanent protection from erosion. “Though the government says it will give compensation, nothing has come so far. We want a permanent wall here,” he said.

Rs. 24-crore proposal

Urban Development Minister Vinay Kumar Sorake said on Saturday that a proposal for constructing a permanent sea wall in the district at a cost of Rs. 24 crore had been submitted to the State government.

Speaking to presspersons after visiting the erosion-affected areas here, Mr. Sorake said of the Rs. 24 crore, Rs. 13 crore had been sanctioned by the State government. Of this, Rs. 10 crore was being spent on areas in the Kaup Assembly constituency. “At present, boulders would be put in the affected areas as a temporary measure from Sunday,” Mr. Sorake said.

T.S. Rathod, Executive Engineer, Department of Ports and Fisheries, said erosion had affected 100 metres of land each at Shiroor–Kalihithlu and Gangolli light house, 50 metres in Malpe, and 200 metres at Kaup–Thottam.