World Bank funded blueprint to counter erosion in Odisha

Kendrapara: Waking up to the tidal surge threat, Odisha government has finalised a World Bank funded comprehensive blueprint to protect the vulnerable seaside human settlements from ingress of furious sea waves in Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts.

The Rs 45 crore project under National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Programme (NCRMP) is getting underway in Kendrapara district while Rs 19 crore project is ready for implementation in vulnerable Erasama block of Jagatsinghpur district.

"A 16 km coastal embankment is being refurbished to plug the tidal waves in Kendrapara districts Rajnagar tehsil. In neighbouring Jagstsinghpur, a 9.6 KM long seawall is being put in place to plug the advancing sea," said Executive Engineer, Saline Irrigation Division, Jugal Kishore Tripathy.

A team of WB experts had inspected sea-erosion-hit spots in Rajnagar and assessed the gravity of the menace. Experts were of the view that the sea was unsteady in these parts. As a result, 46 villages under Rajnagar tehsil are exposed to the advancing sea. The team would shortly visit Erasama area to assess the situation, the official said.

For many years, sea erosion has threatened several thickly populated human settlements in both districts.

Situation has become alarming of late with nearly ten km stretch shoreline categorised as critically vulnerable.

The blueprint to protect erosion-prone pockets is ready.

Existing embankments would be refurbished in Rajnagar. The department would also put in place breakwater system of sea wall to plug the marauding sea. 9.6 km long seawall would be built to keep the advancing sea at bay, Tripathy said.

"It will be a World Bank funded project to be implemented for the first time in both the coastal districts under the auspices of NCRMP. The plan and estimate of the projects has been finalised. Sanctioned funds have been placed with the Special Relief Commissioner. The project would get underway shortly after tender bidding process," he said.

The strategic Pentha embankment under Brahmanasahi gram panchayat in Kendrapara district is also battered by erosion. The state government has resolved to install geo-tube technology on embankment to check erosion. Any serious damage to Penhta embankment would pave way for sea to spread its wing through several human settlements under Rajnagar tehsil.

Earlier, a team of experts headed by engineer-in-chief of state water resources department inspected erosion spots.

Temporary measures like sand bag filling to stop the scouring had been initiated. As a permanent measure, state government has brought vulnerable areas under NCRMP.