Mangaluru, Oct 30, 2020: Government agencies concerned appear to have remained mute to the woes of about 20 households in Batapady-Uchchila that have been cut off from the mainland after the Someshwara-Uchchila-Batapady Fisheries Road was completely eroded by the Arabian Sea in July this year.
“I had cautioned the agencies involved in ADB-funded Someshwara Shoreline Protection Project that the road would get washed away this monsoon in February itself,” said Batapady Abdullah, a resident. Yet, officials ignored the caution and the inevitable happened when it rained heavily, he said. Completing only one of the two offshore reefs in the region was the reason for the erosion, he said.
Mr. Abdullah further said it was not that the sea current was very strong, as a ring well in the locality withstood the erosion and remained intact. Only sand was being washed away, including the one beneath the fisheries road. If the agencies had at least put up a strong protection wall, erosion could have been averted, he said.
Hanif, another resident, said that residents of the affected houses were in distress as they had to carry everything by foot. The aged and patients are the most affected as they cannot walk the stretch. Government apathy was deplorable, he regretted.
Even as the government took up the ADB-funded shoreline protection project five years ago, the seashore near Batapady, about 400 m wide between the fisheries road and the sea, was swallowed by the sea every year culminating in the complete erosion of the fisheries road itself. Someshwara Town Municipal Council president Rajesh Uchchil said that since the Town Municipal Council does not have enough funds, it had been urging the government to protect the fisheries road, but in vain.
Some works taken up by the government at the Batapady end point too have come to a halt following erosion of the fisheries road.
Work to start in a week
Meanwhile, Minister for Ports and Fisheries and district in-charge Kota Srinivas Poojari told The Hindu that the department has proposed to execute the construction of a sea protection wall and restoration of the road through the Nirmithi Kendra without resorting to the tender process.
A grant of at least ₹ 2 crore was expected from the government in a week and the work would immediately be taken up given the urgency of the situation, according to the Minister.