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Geo-synthetic seawall protective barriers vandalized; authorities lodge police complaint

Miscreants vandalized stone barrier boxes lying close to the geo-synthetic seawall along the Pentha coast in Odisha’s Kendrapara district, according to officials of water resources department.The synthetic wires attached to at least three Gabion boxes have been damaged. The wires got melted after coming in contact with fire. These boxes filled with natural stones were installed close to the seawall as part of erosion control measures, said Executive Engineer, Saline Embankment Division, Purna Chandra Rath.The department today lodged a complaint with Rajnagar police urging the law-enforcing agencies to nab the culprits as causing damage to the geo-synthetic seawall project is a serious offence, he said.  

The department has sought for the services of technical experts to mend the damage done to the structure, he added.

Construction of Odisha’s first geo-synthetic tube seawall project to arrest sea erosion along the Pentha coast had come to an end on 15 June, 2016, much to relief of people living in the vulnerable coastal villages. The project was worth Rs 33 crore and was fully funded by the World Bank.

The sea-erosion-control project has so far proved to be a success since the commissioning of the project a year back. It has successfully withstood the mighty sea waves. However the utility of the seawall could be better tested if the cyclonic storm hit the coast and triggers mighty tidal. Since the launch of the project, nature’s fury has not hit the area, the officials said. 

The 505 metre long seawall is now successfully withstanding the onslaught of battering of sea waves along the Pentha coast. The seawall project formed the part of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Programme (ICZMP) and was funded by World Bank. The project construction work was carried out under the technical expertise and guidance of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Chennai to protect the vulnerable from the onslaught of the crawling sea, said officials.Pentha coast under Brahmansahi gram panchayat under Rajnagar Tehsil of Kendrapara district was being constantly battered by marauding sea waves, prompting the state government to install geo-synthetic buffer on the embankment to arrest sea erosion. Over a dozen thickly populated human settlements are still lying thoroughly exposed following massive erosion along the coastline.The proposal for geo-synthetic tube seawall was mooted out in 2008. However for variety of factors, it got delayed.Past studies have indicated that more than 36 percent of the coast is facing the threat of erosion, the problem being most acute near habitations such as Pentha and Satbhaya in Kendrapara. 

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