Sea erodes pristine Tamil Nadu beach

May 11th, 2008 - 6:26 pm ICT by admin  

Cuddalore (Tamil Nadu), May 11 (IANS) Even as deliberations to finalise the draft of a coastal zone management (CZM) are underway, one of its vital issues - seafront erosion - has hit this quiet town, officials said Sunday. Badly mauled by the 2004 Asian tsunami, Cuddalore’s 57 km-long beach, second only to the Marina beach in state capital Chennai, 180 km to the north, is in danger of losing long stretches to the brackish waters, officials told IANS.

Collector Rajendra Ratnoo, presently on holiday in Rajasthan said by phone that he was aware of the problem and “it worried him”.

“Though the relevant files are not in my possession at this point in time, I am worried by this issue. The administration is looking at various options to stop the ’sea’s landward invasion’,” said Ratnoo.

Locals said that sea water had gobbled up Cuddalore’s scenic “Silver Beach” in some places up to 40 metres.

“The water level has increased so much that almost the entire cement-concrete benches lining the beach and the electric lamp-posts are standing in almost two feet of water. In some places water has come inland up to 40 metres. If this goes on, one day our children may be left with no beach to play on,” said K. Rajeshwari, 29, watching her toddlers playing in the sand close to the water.

“The real culprits to be blamed are certain departments of the state and central governments which allowed land reclamation in certain parts here. When man invades the sea, nature always retaliates unpredictably,” said V. Pasupathi, a retired government official pointing to the greenish expanse of the Bay of Bengal.

Acting collector and district revenue officer S. Natarajan said that while the cause for erosion were under investigation, “there is no immediate cause for alarm”.

“This phenomenon probably began during the Nargis weather system that threatened us briefly. As a matter of precaution, we have posted more policemen to prevent bathing during tides. Further, discussions are being held to assess the problem and the methodology to tackle it will be finalised when the collector returns as there is no immediate cause for alarm,” said Natarajan.

Over nine hamlets in the northern suburbs of capital Chennai have already been lost to the sea following reclamation to augment port facilities during the last decade, according to state government’s statistics.

“One solution could be increasing coastal vegetation to protect the seafront. Our study shows very clearly that areas with trees suffered less destruction than areas without trees,” Finn Danielsen, a Denmark based director of the Nordic Agency for Development and Ecology had said in a report co-authored by 13 international scientists drawn from various countries including India and Sri Lanka following the tsunami.

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