Utkal Varsity team visits Puri to study tidal ingress

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Puri: With a recent study on gravity anomaly revealing that tectonic plate movement in the sea bed has increased the velocity of the tidal wave and the sea current resulting in corrosion of the shoreline near Swarga Dwar in Puri, a three-member team of the Department of Geology of the Utkal University today visited the pilgrim town for an on-the-spot review of the situation.

The team, led by Dr Durga Shankar Patnaik, Head of the department of Geology, visited Swarga Dwar and Mangala river mouth to study the phenomenon.

Talking to media persons later, Patnaik said the department has 20-year data on sea erosion. “We will conduct a study and compare it with our previous data to find out whether this phenomenon has taken place accidentally, artificially or whether it is a continuous marine process which has been noticed at Swarga Dwar and Mangala river mouth. We will submit a report to the state government later,” he added.

Dr Debanand Beuria, Research Associate and another member of the team, said this phenomenon is a repetition of the incident that had taken place in Puri in 2007.

Stating that the sand casting of the Mangala river mouth is one of the reasons for tidal ingress in the Swarga Dwar area, he said between 2000 and 2007, the wind direction has changed from 7 degrees to 37 degrees, which is a major factor for coastal erosion. “Due to the change in the wind direction, the wind is perpendicularly hitting the shoreline. Since the Puri beach is flat, the height of the tidal wave is comparatively much higher. Considering these factors, it can be said that it is a localized and natural phenomenon,” he pointed out.

Talking about sand casting of the Mangala river mouth, Beuria said previously the sediments (sand) from all rivers, which have fallen in the Bay of Bengal in this direction, were carried to the sea during flood. If the sediments are not supplied to the sea, there will be erosion as the sea will take away the sands from the shoreline.

“This is a natural process. For example, the shoreline areas of Puri which was eroded in 2007, has been filled with sands. Now you can see that the sand has started depositing in the portion in Swarga Dwar area where the erosion had taken place two weeks ago. Now our prime responsibility is to naturally combat this phenomenon. For this, we have to create a buffer zone of about 200 metres from the shore to allow the sea to have its own activities in an area of maximum 20-25 metres. We can grow mangrove or casuarina trees in the remaining area of the buffer zone,” he noted.

Stating that geo-synthetic tube is not a permanent solution to prevent erosion, Beuria said this natural process frequently occurs in Satabhaya and Chilika. “We are more concerned about this natural process in Puri as the place is one of the famous tourist destinations in the country. There will be high tide and tidal ingress along the shoreline of Puri beach. But we have to ensure flexibility by leaving sufficient space for the sea to have its natural activities,” he maintained.

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