A strategic portion of a jetty in Odisha's largest fishing hub in the Paradip harbour has collapsed weeks after it faced the brunt of Cyclone Phailin, posing erosion threat to its vessel-berthing infrastructure.
The damaged structure, measuring 45 metres long, is located close to the confluence of the Mahanadi River and Bay of Bengal. The catch from the fishing vessels and crafts are unloaded at the jetty.
The cave-in of the jetty, which had already endured normal wear and tear, was hastened by Cyclone Phailin which struck the state recently.
"The fishing jetty, which was built in 1996 by the Paradip port management, had got considerably weakened recently when Cyclone Phailin struck the state. It had undergone the wear and tear process resulting in its sudden cave-in," Paradip marine fisheries officer Ranjit Kishore Dash said.
As the collapsed structure is a vital component of the harbour, the department has sought immediate fiscal assistance in rebuilding the structure, he said.
A team of technical experts from the state Marine Fisheries Department has assessed the damaged jetty and its findings have been submitted to the state government.
Preliminary estimate of the damage had been pegged at Rs 10 crore, Dash said.
Orissa Trawl Operators' Association president Sumant Biswal claimed absence of periodic maintenance triggered the cave-in.
"Constantly battered by sea/river water, it was already in a bad shape. Stakeholders had raised the issue of its repair and maintenance on several occasions. But it did not yield the desired result," he said.
The Association has drawn the attention of National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) for release of grants for the reconstruction of the jetty, he said.
With a sizeable chunk of funds sanctioned by the Union Agriculture Ministry for periodic maintenance of the harbour remaining unspent, it is waiting for an overhul.
Sanitation and hygiene standard of the harbour has also gone from bad to worse as Rs 4.75 crore grants released in this regard could not be put to optimum use, sources claimed.
As a result of this and lack of proper maintenance, the state's major exporting centre of marine fish produce faced a threat of export ban by international fisheries bodies.
In September, 2011, the harbour came under the administrative control of the state Marine Fisheries Department. Prior to that, it was under dual control of Paradip port trust and Marine Fisheries Department.
However, marine fisheries officer Dash said that the fish auction hall, which was in a dilapidated condition, was being renovated under NFDB grants.
In the next phase, he said, the effluent treatment system would be refurbished to improve sanitation standard of the fishing harbour, he said.