Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Rajnagar, Sep 22:
A team of World Bank and Odisha government officials yesterday visited the natural calamity prone district of Kendrapada to assess the extensive sea erosion and construction of geo synthetic sea wall at Pentha to prevent further damage along the coast.
A high-level team headed by acting Country Director and Operations Adviser for World Bank in India Michael Haney, along with senior officials of Integrated Coastal Zone Management Projects (ICZMP) and Water Resources Department visited the sea erosion affected Pentha under Rajnagar block in Kendrapada district to assess the ongoing geo synthetic sea wall construction which has been stalled recently due to high tides.
“The technical experts of Water Resources department and ICZMP would prepare a report on the measures to be taken to protect Pentha from sea erosion. Based on this, all necessary steps would be taken to ensure protection to the hamlets prone to sea erosion near Pentha,” said an official.
During the one-day visit to the geo synthetic wall construction site, Michael Haney visited the Banabihari Jew temple and OSDMA shelter home near here.
Haney gave a green signal to resume the sea wall project that was stalled since June 16 last. The World Bank panel suggested the expeditious implementation of geo-synthetic tube seawall project in sea-erosion-hit Pentha coast, sources said.
A meeting was organised at the cyclone shelter home by OSDMA nodal officer Krushna Chandra Bisoi which was attended by Rajnagar MLA Anshuman Mohanty. BDO Jhadeswar Das, Tehsildar Kshirod Kumar Behera, Kanika King Shailendra Bhanjdeo, Pentha village head and children attended the meeting.
The legislator explained Haney and his team about the plights of villagers during cyclones in the natural calamity prone villages. Besides, he urged the officials to construct more shelter homes in the Rajnagar area.
The locals brought to the notice of Haney that they were in a state of panic as they suspect the stability of the geo synthetic tube. They cited that one geo-synthetic tube had ruptured after sand and water filling work was going on three months back.
The World Bank team comprised of AS Ramakrishnan, Parthapriya Ghosh, Mousumi Chaterjee and ICZMP special project director AC Dinkar, oceanography specialist Sailesh Dodiya, environmentalist Dr AK Sahu, and other officials of Water Resources department visited the site.
Besides, Executive Engineer Jugal Kishore Tripathy, Assistant Executive Engineer Umesh Chandra Swain and Assistant Engineer Anjan Kumar Behera from the Saline Embankment Division also were a part of the team.
It may be mentioned that the sea erosion in the area has posed danger to as many as 35 villages including Pentha and the Rajnagar block headquarters. In the last 15 years, the sea has eaten into almost 1km of earth along the coast.
This geo-synthetic tube wall project is the second geotube built in India after West Bengal, which was constructed in 2008 spread over an area of 1 KM.
After much delay, the project took off last year where 505-meter stretch geotube wall will be constructed.
Notably, 40 geotubes having 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 the sea waves from eroding the coastline. However, the 41st geotubes ruptured while putting it inside the sea. Following this, the geosynthetic tubes, ropes and clothes were sent for tests in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Chennai laboratories. Till the reports were received, the construction work was stalled.
The construction works resumed from Sep 15 after report came positive from four laboratories about the quality of the materials of the tube.
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, the stainless steel sheet piling will be done 20 feet into the sea level after which geosynthetic tubes was to be placed into it to stop sea erosion. However, the incessant rainfall due to depression in the Bay of Bengal has put spanner in the works 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.