Fear of losing the silky sands of the Vizag coast and its beauty to the erosion looms large
VISAKHAPATNAM: Sixty-two-year-old K. Appana watches the battering of waves along the shore season after season with fear even as he sets across the waters with his boat. He knows for sure that the sea is not how it used to be three decades ago. With every passing year, the water seems to menacingly advance towards the coast. Like Appana, there are 3,000 fishermen of Jalaripeta who watch this phenomenon with silent fear. “Though the beach near our village is not affected so much, we can still feel the difference. Our catch has also reduced considerably in recent times,” says T. Shankar of the Fishermen’s Youth Welfare Association.
Many fear that the silky sands of the Vizag coast and its beauty may soon become a thing of the past if erosion goes unchecked. The sun-kissed beach now wears a dreadful look after the menacing waters of sea ate away more than half the beach cover.
One upon a time, the same beach used to be the meeting ground for holding huge gatherings by freedom fighters. Says, NGO activist Bhujanga Rao, “Way back in the 1940s Sarojini Naidu addressed a massive gathering on the beach.”
Old timers recall how the beach used to be two kilometres long a few decades ago. As erosion increased, concrete blocks were dumped along the beach as wave breakers. However, in course of time, the blocks sunk and the sea advanced towards the land.
Recalling a similar occurrence in 1965, Mr. Rao said that the crisis occurred at the old Municipal Office Building. “It was the construction of groins at fishing harbour that saved the town,” he says
“If the present situation continues, very soon we won’t have any beach to boast of,” says Radharani who stays in an apartment overlooking the sea.