Sea batters vulnerable coastline

Paradip: Sea erosion along Jatadhar river mouth close to the industrial hub in Odisha’s Paradip port township is fast-emerging as a threat to the peripheral human settlements.

Several thickly-populated villages in close vicinity of Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL)’s run Paradip refinery are exposed to sea’s fury as smashing of tidal waves continues to batter the vulnerable coastline.

The river mouth is undergoing steady erosion. The seaside villages are facing threat from marauding sea waves. Sea has turned restive, battering the coast alarmingly.

While intense sea erosion in Satabhaya and Pentha coast in Kendrapara district has become of a matter of deep concern, neighbouring Jagatsinghpur is now contending with the sea scourge.

“Apart from the breakwater system put in place at the Paradip port, periodic dredging operation being undertaken by the port has fastened the erosion. The National Institute of oceanography had suggested that dredging should be done eight km from the Jatadhar river mouth coastline. However the suggestive measures put forward by the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) are being flouted. The sand dredging is still going on vulnerable zones. The felling of trees in areas where Posco had planned to set up a steel plant has also cast its adverse effect”, observed an environment activist, Ayashkant Ray.

Tidal waves have made rapid march into vast uninhabited areas. However things have assumed alarming proportions as the whole area is under threat. Fishermen are badly affected as they have stopped venturing into the unsteady water. Fishing has become a risky proposition because of strong current in the river water, he said.

The old river mouth is on the verge of disappearing. Dredging activity of the sea floor has imperiled the topography of the region. Apart from formation of a new mouth and ingression of tidal waves, it has led to decline in fish stocks. The formation of a new river mouth has impeded the drainage of rainwater. Now it has been plugged leading to the flooding of the area. The natural sand dunes have fast-disappeared due to man-man interference like dredging of river bed, he added.

An official of Paradip Port Trust however differed from the viewpoint.

Dredging operation is being carried out at periodic intervals along the port area. It’s a routine practice that all major ports of the country carry out for shipment, the official said.

Paradip Additional District Magistrate, Biswajit Biswal said “The situation is not at all alarming as it is being projected. However the administration is making on the spot assessment of the situation”.

}