Study begins on Varkala cliff erosion

Crumbling: The 6.1-km-long laterite Cliff on Varkala Beach that has caved in at many places.  

The Centrally-funded study on the erosion of the 6.1-km-long red laterite cliff overlooking the Varkala beach to protect the unique sedimentary geo-morphological structure will begin this week.

The ₹1.82-crore study, funded by the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), is to be carried out jointly by the National Centre for Coastal Research, (NCCR) Chennai, and the National Centre for Earth Science Studies, (NCESS), Akkulam.

The initiative is at a time when caving in of earth is frequent and fissures have come up at several spots atop the cliff in the land bordering the pathway that is two-metres-and-a-half wide. Unmindful of the risks involved, motor vehicles are moving along the cliff from the helipad side and holidayers to the restaurants dotting the cliff and to the beach.

The study to begin this week is to be completed in one year.

It is part of declaring the 80-ft high laterite cliff and surrounding areas the country’s first national geopark and getting UNESCO’s tag under the Vision Varkala Infrastructure Development Corporation (VVIDC).

The Hydrographic survey under the Department of Ports to collect the bathmetry data for the MoES study, has already commenced, Managing Director, VVIDC, V. Ramachandran Potty told The Hindu on Sunday.

The data along the 31 km from Muthalapozhi to Thangassery has to be made available for the team. Around ₹70,000 is needed for collecting bathmetry data for a km.


The State, which will be a facilitator to the MoES study through the VVIDC, will also have to set up beach monitoring system, wave movement study at the Government Nature Cure Hospital premises near the helipad and install a waver buoy at a depth of 20 metre in Arabian sea overlooking the cliff to collect data.

“An awareness campaign will be carried out to update the fisherfolk of the locality and other locals on the study and to seek their cooperation and support. Local legislator V. Joy and A. Sampath, MP, are closely watching the project,” he added. As part of the study, the MoES will get a model for a permanent engineering solution to protect the cliff and check erosion.

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 10:24:14 PM |

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