The Orissa tourism ministry is seeking the Central government’s assistance to preserve its pristine beaches which are fast getting eroded.
The state’s tourism minister Debi Prasad Mishra will soon be visiting Delhi to meet central ministers and officials in this connection. Mishra told HT on the phone from Bhubaneswar that “A highly visible 60-metre patch of beach has been completely eroded near the Sterling Hotel in Puri. We are concerned about other beaches in Gopalpur and Chandipur.”
He said the central government should provide the necessary funding and “scientific road map” to save the beaches.
Mishra’s wish list includes Rs10 crore for immediate measures at Puri and another Rs 100 crore for long term solutions. “We hope to generate funds from the Centre and state which may be dovetailed into the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission”.
The state is seeking expert advice from the Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management Project Directorate Chennai, among other institutions.
Advisor to the ministry of earth scienes B.R. Subramaniam told HT from Chennai that the wave action is very severe along the Orissa coast this time. During the monsoon, sea waves are generally very forceful and take sand away from the beaches and dump it about one to two kilometres away. The beach however is built up and restored once the monsoons abates, he said.
He said there are several possible solutions, including building of 2-3 metre high sea walls along the beach by dumping boulders in the sea but reflecting waves which strike the wall and tend to accelerate the erosion.
One of the more environment-friendly options we like to recommend is beach nourishment in sand eroded from the beach being regularly replenished.
Constructing four-metre tall walls of boulders perpendicular to the coast going into the sea called ‘groins’ to intercept the alongshore movement of sand create wide beaches on the updrift side and accelerated erosion of downdrift beaches.
Another method popular today is to make two to three layers of two-metre-wide and two-kilometre-long sandbags placed at four-metre-depths along the coast to reduce the wave action and thus reduce erosion, he added.