Bhubaneswar: Over the past few years, sea erosion and high tides surge due to storms on the coasts of Odisha have increased making the life of people residing in the coastal regions tough and challenging.
The recent Cyclone Yaas has seriously affected coastal lands as huge tidal waves entered inland, causing flooding in villages and farm lands.
With an aim to decrease sea erosion and tidal surge in the coastal regions, the Odisha government has decided to construct a 380 km long special sea embankment using stone packing with wire mesh and mangrove plantation drive in the ten districts of the state.
A detailed report to execute the project has been prepared. The state government is planning to spend Rs 6000-7000 crore in the project. Initially Rs 1944 crore would be spent for the project.
Informing about the project, Water Resources Department chief engineer Jyotirmaya Rath said, “The state government has prepared a long term plan to check high tides during storms. A detailed report has been already prepared to execute the project.”
The official added that the decision for the project was taken after the success of 52 km long saline embankments which have been constructed in Kendrapada, Jagatsinghpur, Ganjam and Puri. The official also claimed that soil erosion has decreased in this region due the embankments.
However, the 15-km surge protection embankment project from Paradip to Noliashai which started in 2013 is yet to be completed. Only an 8 km embankment has been constructed after which the construction work has stopped.
Ranjan Panda, Climate change expert believes that along with saline embankments, the government should also focus on beach nourishment. “Sea embankments won’t be of much use as we have observed that whenever we block the tidal waves, it would find another opening to hit the coast. Beach nourishment which is being tried in many areas could be helpful if implemented on the coasts of Odisha,” said Panda.
“With proper discussion with experts and villagers, we need to identify sensitive zones and go for beach nourishment and mangrove plantation,” he said.
Since it’s a long term plan, there should be ecologically proper planning and not just blanket embankment, he added.