Geo-synthetic tube tech to save areas from sea erosion

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Kendrapara: Authorities are gearing up to instal a geo-synthetic tube technology to save a threatened sea embankment and a cluster of human settlements from sea erosion in Kendrapara district.

The geo-tube experiment to arrest sea erosion in Kendrapara district would be country’s second such project.

Earlier it has been successfully executed in erosion-hit Digha shoreline in West Bengal, official sources said.

While a team of World Bank inspected the endangered embankment at Pentha in Rajnagar Tehsil, technical experts from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Chennai would visit shortly to give finishing touches to the plan and design of the Rs 19 crore project, the officials said.

The IIT team would impart technical guidance for the project. As the project of this nature is for the first time being implemented in the state, they will monitor the geo synthetic tube installation work along the 700 metre vulnerable embankment.

Raj Kishore Ghadei, Executive Engineer, Saline Embankment Division, said "We have prepared a detailed project report besides the design and plan of geo tube installation. If required, the IIT experts might make necessary modification of the design and plan of the project".

"I am witness to the advancing sea. I had inspected the embankment last year. This year I found 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.

The geo-tubes made up of high grade rexin material and filled with sand would be put in place at erosion-hit shoreline along Pentha embankment, official sources said.

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 cave in by being battered by waves, geo-tubes could sustain such shocks.

The Chilika Development Authority is acting as the nodal agency for successful implementation of this geo-tube sea wall project, Ghadei said.

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 stop erosion of embankment, experts in saline embankment division said.

Several thickly populated human settlements including the coastal Rajnagar block headquarters are presently exposed to sea erosion.

Except temporary measures like dumping sand bags and stones along the coast, the government has not initiated permanent solution to the problem of erosion in the area.

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 from Jaudia, Gohipur, Ichapur, Baunsagada, Goladiha and Sasana were washed away.

Villages like Pentha, Endulasahi, Prasanapur, Sundaripala and Khandamara under Brahmanasahi gram panchayat had escaped the 1971 cyclonic devastation. But the safety of these villagers is now at stake as intensity of sea erosion is alarming and frightening.

Besides Satabhaya coast, scourge of sea erosion is equally pronounced along the Pentha shoreline. Massive erosion in recent times had pressed panic buttons because of strategic location of Pentha.

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