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Prospects of a lasting solution to sea erosion brighten

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UNABATED: There was no respite for people at Ullal near Mangalore, from the high waves that continued on Friday The sea erosion is also continuing on the coastal belt.
UNABATED: There was no respite for people at Ullal near Mangalore, from the high waves that continued on Friday The sea erosion is also continuing on the coastal belt.

Govind D. Belgaumkar

A three-member ADB’s team begins its study at Ullal

Three States will get loan from the bank to address the problem

The Rs. 291-crore project will cover 33 places in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi

MANGALORE: A permanent solution to sea erosion, which affects hundreds of families along the coast and makes the Government spend crores of rupees year after year, may be expected to emerge soon.

Asian Development Bank (ADB), which is considering loan assistance to three States to protect their coasts, has undertaken a study of the problem of sea erosion in select areas in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada.

A high-level meeting was held in this regard at Bangalore on June 3. Executive engineer at Udupi division of the Department of Ports and Fisheries B. Gopal Naik attended the meeting.

Mr. Naik told The Hindu on Friday that a three-member team appointed by the ADB was camping in Mangalore to study sea erosion at Ullal. Other areas to be covered on priority by the team are: Torse-Terlakadi in Udupi and Pavinakurle and Devabagh in Uttara Kannada districts.

The ADB’s initiative is only a part of a bigger project aimed at helping the States of Kanrataka, Goa and Maharashtra. The ADB sources said the bank had sanctioned Project Preparatory Technical Assistance (PPTA) worth US dollars 1 million (Rs. 4.3 crore) for India against a proposal sent to it by Central Water Commission. The three-member team is part of the PPTA exercise. The team, comprising of consultant coastal engineer B. Nagendrakumar, coastal land use specialist Anil Kumar and natural resource management economist Nawal K. Paswan, has been collecting details from different departments on how to tackle the problem of sea erosion.

Mr. Naik said Ports and Fisheries Department had prepared a Rs. 291-crore project to prevent sea erosion in 33 places in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts. This had been forwarded to Central Water Commission. This scheme is being evaluated by the ADB.

The ADB team was expected to complete its study by this year-end and the assistance from the ADB might be available next year, Mr. Naik said.

The Udupi division has conducted an assessment of the sea erosion in Ullal and had prepared a scheme consisting of two options – filling up the 600-m gap in the wall of rocks at Indiranagar at a cost of Rs. 1.83 crore or stacking sandbags to prevent sea erosion in this gap which would cost Rs. 83 lakh. Mr. Naik said the proposal had been sent to Deputy Commissioner M. Maheshwar Rao, seeking assistance from natural calamity fund. The gap occurred because a beach resort in the region objected to creation of stone barricade abutting its property fearing that this might affect its clientele who preferred free access to the beach.

However, these measures could be taken up only when the sea was calm, Mr. Naik said. The sea continued to remain rough on Friday and wall of rocks was disintegrating at some places, particularly near an Anganwadi and mosque in Indiranagar. The lone teacher at the anganwadi, Primila, said she would be forced to send the children back if sea water entered the road in front the anganwadi as it happened last year. The tides were so strong on Friday that the waves rose several feet high after hitting the 12-feet high wall of rocks. For some boys, it provided entertainment as they, standing a little distance away from the wall, were hit by the waves and they were fully drenched. In the evening, According to people in the surroundings, the sea grew rougher by evening and the tidal waves were hitting the anganwadi, about 20 ft away from the barricade.

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