|A view of surging sea between RK Beach and Coastal Battery in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday. —Photo: K.R. Deepak|
: The World Bank has agreed in principle to sanction Rs. 80 crore to Rs.100 crore to help Andhra Pradesh to address the increasing threat of coastal erosion and take up remedial measures.
Visakhapatnam Port Trust Chairman M.T. Krishna Babu, who is heading the committee set up by Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu to study the issue following frequent erosion threatening to damage to the Visakhapatnam-Bheemunipatnam beach corridor, said they were waiting for consent from the State government to engage Deltares, an international institute specialising in water and sub-surface studies of The Netherlands, to conduct a detailed study. When the report submitted by the National Institute of Ocean Technology was referred to Deltares for expert opinion, it said the recommendation for structural intervention by installing geo-pipes, geo-tubes and underwater dyke up to a length of two km would further aggravate the problem, Mr. Krishna Babu told The Hindu on Wednesday.
The NIOT report was referred to Deltares on the advice of the Chief Minister.
Mr. Krishna Babu said for long-term measures Deltares would charge a consultation fee of Rs.3 crore to Rs.3.5 crore. Once the government approves the proposal, Deltares will be engaged as a consultant. Changing beach morphology, concrete jungle culture and lack of periodical maintenance have contributed to severe erosion at various places in the State, which has 974-km coastline, the second largest after Gujarat. Mr. Krishna Babu said as on today, they had found that 271 km of coastline from Itchhapuram in Srikakulam to Tada in Nellore had eroded due to various factors.
Stating that Visakhapatnam Port had been undertaking beach nourishment every year since the construction of Outer Harbour, he said last year they spent Rs.13 crore to evacuate sand from the ‘sand trap’ created between Dolphin’s Nose and breakwater area and pump it to the eroded beaches by deploying a dredger of the Dredging Corporation of India.
Mr. Krishna Babu said as swell waves were expected to damage the beach further in October, they have to take beach nourishment on top priority. “The problem has taken serious dimension after construction of Gangavaram Port. We need nourishment of five lakh cubic metres in Visakhapatnam alone. It will be better if Gangavaram Port also joins in the efforts to nourish the eroded beaches,” he opined.