Sea erosion begins 2 months before monsoon

Sea erosion begins 2 months before monsoon

Work on ADB funded reefs, berms not yet complete

With nearly two months to go for monsoon, the sea erosion has already started in Ullal.

Waves have started to take away the sand on the beach, since the last three to four days, thus giving anxious moments to those who reside on the beach.

Summer Sands Beach Resort Managing Director Aloysius Albuquerque Pai, who lost 4 villas on the beach due to sea erosion in 2014, told DH that it is strange that the sea erosion has already commenced in April, which is unusual.

Quite interestingly, he attributed the violent sea on June 8, 2014 to Cyclone Nanauk (that later hit the Gulf). “Though it passed about 350 km off the coast of Mangaluru, it had its effect on Mangaluru,” Pai said referring to Nasa/Isro websites.

On the other hand, the work on the work on ADB-funded Sustainable Coastal Protection and Management Investment Programme (SCPMIP) to address the issues of sea erosion in Ullal, that commenced two years ago, too is yet to be completed. “Among the proposed four berms, work on three berms is over and work on the two reefs and two breakwaters is also almost over,” said Sustainable Coastal Protection and Management Investment Programme Joint Director Gopal Nayak.

“As sea was rough for the last few days, the work could not be continued,” he said adding that the work is likely be completed by May-end. The total cost of the project is Rs 223 crore, he said.

Meanwhile, Pai, who has been witnessing the changes in the beach for the last five decades is of the opinion that the ongoing work on breakwaters, reefs and berms can only be a temporary solution, as any attempt to ‘calm’ the sea at a particular point (at present in Ullal) will lead to disaster a few hundred metres away.

Going down memory lane, he said that it all started with the breakwaters built at New Mangalore Port project in 1964, which led to southern beach erosion. Subsequently, another set of breakwaters in 1991-94 at the mouth of Nethravathi/Phalguni river, led to sea erosion in Ullal (which was informed by CWPRS, Kadakvasla, at the time of clearing the project).

As part of the ‘Save Ullal’ project, foreign consultants were roped in with the funding from Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2010 and the work that commenced about two years ago is going on.

According to Aloysius, Ullal has lost its pristine stretches of beaches to the extent of 200 to 400 metres due to the onward march of the sea over the last 30 years, basically after the construction of breakwaters at Nethravathi/Gurpur (Phalguni) rivers.

At the same time, the temporary remedial measures of dumping rocks/boulders along the beach to form a sea wall has turned the pristine beach into an ugly beach with dangerous sea wall, he rues.

“All our efforts to save ullal have fallen on deaf ears,” says Aloysius adding that though he has written umpteen number of appeals to all the persons concerned, so far he has received only one acknowledgement, that is from R V Deshpande, when he was the tourism minister.