A portion of geosynthetic tubes, installed along the coast off Pentha village in the district to tackle sea erosion, has been damaged in a mysterious fire incident on Saturday night. Locals noticed the fire on Sunday morning and informed the district officials and fire service personnel, who rushed to the spot and doused the fire.
Executive Engineer (saline embankment), Aul Division, Purnachandra Rath said, “We suspect some miscreants have set afire around 15 gabion boxes of the tube wall. We put stones in the gabion boxes while installing geo-tube wall along the coast to protect the beach from the marching sea. Fire personnel have doused the fire and we held deliberations with the district administration and police regarding safety of the geo-tubes.”
A Pune-based Garware Wall Ropes Ltd had set up the geosynthetic tubes at seaside Pentha village in 2016. “We have already informed the officials of the company to rebuild the gutted gabion boxes. During Titli cyclone last year, a portion of the geo-tube was washed away and the company repaired it,” said Rath.
Three years back, the State Government had built 600-metre geo-synthetic tube wall under its Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) programme at an estimated cost of `39 crore with technical support of IIT-Chennai to protect the seaside Pentha village and its nearby areas from high tides, cyclones and even tsunami.
The pounding sea waves had gnawed away portions of the geosynthetic tubes in the recent past on the beach and threatened to topple the tubes. “To protect the geo-tubes, we had built a seafront armoury stone protection barrier in front of the tubes at a cost of Rs 4.1 crore two years back,” Rath said.
“Earlier, the scientists of IIT-Chennai had suggested that casuarina trees be planted in front of the geo-tubes to save the tubes from the tidal waves. But due to lack of space on the beach, we shelved off the plan and built the stone protection barrier,” he added.
The construction of the geosynthetic tube wall at Pentha was the fallacious effort of the authorities to save the areas from the onslaught of the marching sea. Geo-synthetic tubes have failed in the past in Puducherry, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and even at Pentha, said Hemant Rout, secretary of Gahirmatha Marine Turtles Conservation and Mangrove Protection Society.
A Pune-based Garware Wall Ropes Ltd had set up the geosynthetic tubes at seaside Pentha village in 2016
Three years back, the State Government had built a 600-metre geo-synthetic tube wall. During Titli last year, a portion of the geo-tube was washed away and the company repaired it. Scientists of IIT-Chennai had suggested that casuarina trees be planted in front of the geo-tubes to save the tubes from tidal waves