Is Dredging of Harbour Mouth the Best Solution?

Published: 09th August 2014 08:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th August 2014 08:51 AM   |  A+A-


PUDUCHERRY: Dredging of the harbour and discharging of sand on coast that began on Thursday would have its effect by reviving the beach, though in a minimal way, but sustainable measures for beach revival remains a far cry in Puducherry.

Though a dredging of around 4 lakh cubic metres of sand and depositing on the northern side of harbour have been recommended, the present dredging covering only 1.4 lakh cubic metres would fulfill the recommendation only partially.

The direction of sand movement is now South to North and this is set to change with the onset of the North-East monsoon from October. Unless the entire sand is deposited a good distance away from the harbour before the onset of the NE monsoon, the sand discharged would be again brought back into the harbour. 

NIOT has advised the government for disposing of the sand near Gandhi statue, otherwise it would be a waste of funds, Dr M V Ramana Murthy, scientist, specialised in coastal engineering and ports and harbour structures, NIOT, told Express.

NIOT has also recommended the dredging of sand to be done some time from March-April and deposition of sand. However, the government officials state that though the proposal for dredging is given in January-February, the approval of the  proposal takes shape only in June- July.

The revival is necessary to get a sandy beach on account of the fact that Puducherry has become vulnerable to natural calamities like cyclone, tsunami and  erosion, as also owing to the construction of the harbour in 1989, thus affecting livelihood of fishermen. 

However, the present dredging of sand is not adequate to get the sandy beach back on the five-km stretch north of the harbour as the sand is getting washed away on account of erosion. Though boulders have been dumped on the shore, erosion is not fully arrested.  

The government had planned  a project for beach revival sometime back. The basic idea was to dredge the mouth of the harbour and reactivate the sand bypass system. Around `44 Cr is required for the project. Along with PondyCAN, an NGO, initiatives have been taken to get funding from the World Bank through the Society for Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), secretary, Ports, P R Meena said.

The proposal was drafted in association with National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) and National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM)  and sent to Ministry of Environment and Forests for funds.

But, there had been no response from the UPA, neither the present BJP government. The proposal included monitoring mechanism, sustaining the system, revenue generation for maintenance, benefit for stakeholders, creation of awareness, capacity- building, maintaining the ecosystem around Thengaithittu lagoon, said Probir Banerjee of Pondycan.


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