| Temporary measures such as installing timber stumps and sand-filled bags have failed to check the advancing sea at Pentha embankment. Telegraph pictures |
Kendrapara, May 19: The state’s first geo-tube sea wall project, which will save a cluster of highly vulnerable hamlets in Kendrapara district from the marauding sea, is all set to begin shortly. The project is part of the World Bank-funded Integrated Coastal Zone Management Programme (ICZMP).
A team of World Bank personnel in charge of ICZMP implementation made an on-the-spot inspection of the endangered embankment at Pentha yesterday. A team of technical experts from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Chennai, would visit shortly to give finishing touches to the plan and design of the Rs 19 crore project, said district officials.
“The World Bank team visited the threatened spot and had expressed concern over the erosion. They suggested the implemented of the geo-synthetic tube project on a priority basis,” said Raj Kishore Ghadei, executive engineer, saline embankment division.
A team from IIT, Chennai, would arrive shortly to impart technical guidance for the project. As the project of this nature was being implemented for the first time in the state, personnel from the premier technical institute would monitor the geo synthetic tube installation work along the 700 metre vulnerable embankment. We have prepared the detailed project report besides the design and plan of the geo tube installation. If required, the IIT experts might make necessary modification of the design and plan of the project, Ghadei added.
“I am witness to the advancing sea. I had inspected the embankment last year. This year I found that the sea has marched about 10 to 12 metres ahead. Temporary measures like putting up timber stumps and sand-filled bags have failed to check the advancing sea,” he said.
Geo-tubes made up of high grade rexin and filled with sand would be put in place at the strategic erosion-hit shoreline along the Pentha embankment in the Rajnagar tehsil, sources said. The geo-tube experiment to arrest sea erosion in Kendrapara district would be country’s second such project. It has been already been successfully executed in the erosion-hit Digha shoreline of Bengal, said Ghadei.
The Chilika Development Authority is acting as the nodal agency for successful implementation of state’s first geo-tube sea wall project, informed executive engineer Ghadei.
The geo-tubes would be placed on the 700 metre long retard embankment at Pentha. The sand filled rexin bags would act as protective barrier against tidal waves. It would absorb the tidal ingress and salinity contents and would stop the erosion of embankment, according to technical experts in saline embankment division.
Several thickly populated human settlements including the coastal Rajnagar block headquarters are presently exposed thoroughly to sea erosion.
Experts are of the view that use of geo-tube would be a better erosion proof mechanism, as it would reduce striking force of the mighty sea waves. While the stonewalls are used to cave in by being battered by waves, the geo-tubes could sustain such shocks. Besides it has been found that the sea wall or the breakwater system often diverts the erosion trend to other vulnerable shoreline.
In these parts of the state, except taking temporary measures to prevent sea erosion such as dumping sand bags and stones along the coast, the government has not initiated permanent solution to the problem.
The coastal management plan prepared by the water resources cites reasons such as shoreline changes, which occur due to many factors like wind, tidal waves and flood. The geographical features such as presence of number of estuaries and river mouths contribute to the erratic behaviour of the sea. The depletion of mangrove and other coastal vegetation are also cited reason for sea turning violent.
As many as six villages near Pentha were eaten up by sea in cataclysmic 1971 cyclonic waves when the 1,200 population in toto from Jaudia, Gohipur, Ichapur, Baunsagada, Goladiha and Sasana were washed away.
Massive erosion in recent times had pressed panic buttons because of strategic location of Pentha. In the event, the said embankment caves in; sea would sprint towards thickly populated human settlements and the Rajnagar block headquarters.