Sea ero­sion at Mut­tukadu swal­lows bun­ga­low, two build­ings un­der threat

In­ten­sity and alarm­ing pace of ero­sion to cause con­cerns in Chen­nai, where a calamity could un­fold

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - S V KR­ISHNA CHAITANYA

Chen­nai: Five weeks since Ex­press high­lighted the de­struc­tion wrought by sea ero­sion at the Mut­tukadu beach due to an ill-con­ceived and unau­tho­rised coastal en­gi­neer­ing project un­der­taken by State Fish­eries, a beach-fac­ing bun­ga­low at Mut­tukadu has been re­duced to rub­ble by the fast-erod­ing coast­line. Two more newly-con­structed build­ings, al­legedly built in vi­o­la­tion of en­vi­ron­men­tal norms, are un­der threat.

IN just five weeks, a beach-fac­ing lux­ury bun­ga­low at Mut­tukadu has been re­duced to a rub­ble by the fast erod­ing coast­line that has en­abled tidal waves to over­run struc­tures close to the shore. Two more newly-con­structed build­ings, all al­legedly built in vi­o­la­tion of en­vi­ron­men­tal safe­guards, are fac­ing con­stant tidal at­tack that has al­ready breached the com­pound walls, with the houses ly­ing just a few me­tres away.

The in­ten­sity and alarm­ing pace of the ero­sion should cause con­cerns in Chen­nai, where the calamity is head­ing.

On Au­gust 2, Ex­press high­lighted the de­struc­tion wrought by the sea ero­sion at the pic­turesque and eco­log­i­cally sen­si­tive Mut­tukadu beach due to an ill-con­ceived and unau­tho­rised coastal en­gi­neer­ing project un­der­taken by State Fish- eries to con­struct a ‘groyne field’ af­ter fish­er­men in Ko­valam vil­lage com­plained of sea ero­sion.

On Satur­day, only five weeks since then, the sit­u­a­tion is un­prece­dented. In this brief pe­riod, sea has come in at least 50 me­tres, with the stronger tidal waves reach­ing fur­ther in. About 15 co­conut trees have fallen, and roots of sev­eral oth­ers were ex­posed by fast erod­ing sand. Ac­cord­ing to lo­cal res­i­dents, such is the scale of dam­age that each wave hit­ting the shore is erod­ing land. The sandy shore was once worth crores of ru­pees in terms of real es­tate value.

A pri­vate con­trac­tor en­gaged in clear­ing the de­bris of the bun­ga­low said the in­flu­en­tial own­ers of bun­ga­lows un­der at­tack tried to put up a wall to ar­rest the ero­sion. How­ever, it faced fierce op­po­si­tion from the Karikakat­tukup­pam vil­lagers who feared it would erode their fish land­ing area.

SHIBA PRASAD SAHU

A win­dow from the de­stroyed bun­ga­low |

AF­TER

SHIBA PRASAD SAHU

A JCB clear­ing the build­ing de­bris of a bun­ga­low, which was over­run by tides at Mut­tukadu | BE­FORE

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