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Soil erosion eating Goa's beaches

Choppy Seas erode away Anjuna seafront by 50 metres

Arpita Srivastava ,Anjuna 27 July 2012

Soil erosion has been rapidly eating into the vitals of the Goan beaches and this has been a cause of concern to the locals and the government.

Anjuna is one such beach in North Goa which faces the wrath of the sea. Constant erosion over the past one decade has swallowed parts of the beach at St Anthony Waddo, Anjuna. Further the sea has yanked large portion of sand from the bottom giving birth to a cliff in the region.

Residences of 20 families and 10 shops stand on this sand cliff. Widening cracks in the cliff remains a serious threat, as these families stand to lose their homes and means of livelihood.

The water resources department began restoration work four months ago, soon after the new government took over. But locals fear government initiative may just not be enough due to slow pace of work by the department. Meanwhile sand erosion will continue even during this monsoon.

Locals had raised such erosion issues since 1998 when then chief minister, Pratapsing Rane was at the helm. The government had ignored all concerns of the locals then. “Had the then government taken up the issue in earnest at least 50 meters of the hill could be saved,” said Hanumant Govekar. An estimate of Rs 2.65 lakh was prepared then but the government failed to execute the job, Govekar added.

There is even a threat to the only access to the beach due to the massive soil erosion here. “If erosion continues with this pace, the only access to the beach will get washed away,” said Prasad Naik, a shop owner affected by the erosion.

Local MLA, Dayanand Mandrekar who is also the water resources minister chose to pass the buck on the Centre. “The work got delayed as we were waiting for funds from the central government,” Mandrekar said. He further added that the contractor had been given six month time to undertake work, but as it’s related to sea, the time frame might be extended by another 8 to 9 months.

The Anjuna beach restoration project, which involves building a protection wall of 250 meter in length to stabilize the eroding beach stretch has been estimated at Rs 8.62 crore under the Golden Jubilee funds and includes anti-sea and protection measures foundation.

Water resources department is working on special solution to solve the problem. They are making huge concrete blocks which will break waves and reduce erosion.

According to supervisor, Dinesh Khandeparkar the department was working on a plan of placing concrete blocks into the sea with the help of cranes. Work of constructing anti–sea protection wall would begin only after rains, somewhere in September, he added.

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