Ladies’ beach at Baithkol village faces threat of closure to public

Baithkol villagers are also opposing the construction of a road by the Navy on the mountain top.

Published: 03rd February 2023 07:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd February 2023 07:17 AM   |  A+A-

Tourists riding a jet ski at Karwar beach | Dilip Revankar

Express News Service

KARWAR: A British-era ladies’ beach at Baithkol village in Uttara Kannada district is facing the threat of closure to the public. Under the INS Kadamba, also known as Project Seabird base near Karwar, the Indian Navy is constructing a road along the hill adjoining the beach to reach the watch towers. The construction, the locals believe, will not only block their visit to the beach but also pose threat to their houses during monsoon.

Baithkol villagers are also opposing the construction of a road by the Navy on the mountaintop. The road is a rough patch dug up by an earth mover, by just levelling it. “This is a major threat. In 2011, a road was made in a similar manner in Khadwada, but during monsoon, the hill had caved in. Who will be responsible if such a thing repeats,” asked Satish Sail, a former local MLA?

“The issue is two-fold. One, the possible threat of landslides and the other is of blocking access to the ladies’ beach,” he said. The beach is of historical importance. It was reserved for British women for sunbathing and swimming and the locals were not allowed there then. 

Spl team to study Karwar beach issue

Sridhar Harikanta, a local resident, said the tussle between the Navy and the local villagers started a year ago. There have been frequent protests. Pramod Ambig, another resident, said, “They even blocked a natural stream of water flowing from the mountain here. When we objected to it, they laid two huge pipes to allow water to flow without any obstruction.” Sail, who led a protest on Thursday, claimed, “In the revenue records, this property belongs to the forest land and the Navy needs to take clearance from the forest department”.

Prabhuling Kavalikatti, Deputy Commissioner, Uttara Kannada, held a meeting with residents of Baithkol in which former MLA Satish Sail and a few Navy officials participated.

The DC said that Indian Navy engineers gave him an assurance that all necessary precautions would be taken. “But I have constituted a team of officers to study the problem and submit a report,” he said.
He said the forest department has demarcated the boundary.

There is no violation on the part of the Navy. They are doing it on the land allotted to them, he added. On the ladies beach, he said it is not a part of Project Seabird.


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