Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Kendrapara, Sep 21:
A team of World Bank officials will visit the construction site of the geo-synthetic wall near Pentha under Rajnagar block in Odisha’s Kendrapada district where the work has been stalled since last three days due to high tides.
According to sources in the Water Resources department, a team of officials from World Bank, which is funding the project, will be visiting Pentha today. They would review the progress of the work, which has been stalled recently.
As per eyewitness accounts, the sheet piling work has been put on hold due to aggressive tidal waves hitting the coast. The waves have uprooted the stainless steel sheets mounted earlier, which were seen floating in the sea later.
Sea erosion poses a danger to as many as 35 villages in the area, including Pentha and the Rajnagar block headquarters. In the last 15 years, the sea has eaten into almost 1 km of earth along the coast.
This geo-synthetic tube wall project is the second geotube built in India after West Bengal, which was constructed spread over an area of 1 KM in 2008.
After much delay, the project which envisages construction of a geotube wall over a 505-meter stretch, took off last year.
Notably, 40 geotubes having a length of 20 meters and height of 7.4 meters each have been placed inside the sea so far. A total of 204 geotubes are proposed to be fitted in the geo-synthetic wall on a 505-meter stretch to stop sea waves from eroding the coastline. However, the 41st geotubes burst while putting it inside the sea. Following this, the geo-synthetic tubes, ropes and clothes were sent for tests in Mumbai, Pune and Chennai laboratories. Construction work was halted till the reports were received.
The construction work resumed from Sep 15 after the authorities examined the reports.
The authorities are finding it difficult to go ahead with the fitting of geotubes from 80-180 meter stretch along the 505-meter area due to the high tides after which the design was tweaked. In this 100-meter stretch, stainless steel sheet piling will be done 20 feet into the sea level after which geosynthetic tubes are to be placed into it to stop sea erosion. However, incessant rainfall due to depression in the Bay of Bengal has put a spanner in the work since last three days.
The World Bank project, funded under the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Programme, has approved Rs 31.15 crore for the laying of geo-synthetic tubes. While 75 percent of the project cost will be borne by the World Bank, 15 and 10 percent will be spent by Central and state governments respectively.