Who will protect the beaten-up shores of Karnataka

12:29 PM, Friday, July 1st, 2016
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coastline-of-KarnatakaMangaluru : Over the last three decades, lakhs of boulders have been swept away by the raging Arabian Sea along 50 km of the total 300 km coastline of Karnataka. With it, lives of those who lived on the seafront have also been destroyed.

Like previous years (except 2015 when the monsoon was weak), this year too the sea has been swallowing up at least 10 houses on the coast and leaving another 50 under threat. The administration, as it does every year, is talking about “immediate” protection measures which usually means placing large boulders on the seafront.

The worst affected areas include Ullal, Tannirbhavi (Dakshina Kannada), Hejamadi Kodi, Kodi Bengre, Maravanthe, Kirimanjeshwara (Udupi district), Bhatkal and Honnavar (Uttara Kannada district).

Residents of Ullal claim that the sea has advanced not less than 500 m since 1983, when the breakwaters for Mangaluru Fishing Harbour First Stage was built south of the Nethravati estuary. On the other hand, breakwaters north of the Gurupura (Phalguni) river is said to have affected Bengre and Tannirbhavi. Similar is the case with other areas, where breakwaters of fishing harbours are said to have aggravated sea erosion.

The government, which had only thought of placing boulders to prevent further advancement of the sea, went for the Asian Development Bank-funded Sustainable Coastal Protection and Management Project in 2008, along with two other States — Goa and Maharashtra. While the Rs. 216-crore project for Ullal region under the first tranche of the ADB assisted project was to commence from 2009-10, it took off only in 2012-13 and has gathered pace since last year.

A senior official with the Public Works, Ports and Inland Water Transport Department said that the Ullal project should be in place before the next monsoon. The work involves shortening of Mangaluru Fishing Harbour’s south breakwater by 110 m; extension of north breakwater by 220 m; 1.2 million cubic metre of beach nourishment in Ullal, and construction of three offshore multi-purpose artificial soft reefs to hold the nourishment.

With areas south of Ullal — Someshwara and Uchchila too witnessing large-scale erosion last week, Minister U.T. Khader on Thursday promised to include them under the second tranche of the project, along with fishing harbour breakwater support projects of Hejamadi Kodi, Kodi Bengre, and Gangolli.


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