Beach erosion has been a common occurrence in coastal areas. However, with each passing year, the threat has grown to hazardous proportions along the Puri-Konark coast, with the water consuming large swaths of land, beaches, and roads.
The three-kilometer route from Maa Ramchandi Peetha to the Kusabhadra river mouth and Chandrabhaga beach has been filled with sand due to high sea currents, causing damage to the embankment and vegetation along the road.
Environmentalists and residents are concerned that if the district government does not take action to prevent erosion, the entire region would be destroyed by the sea.
A local resident, Sunil Nayak, stated, “The sea condition has remained harsh for the previous six months.” The waves have absorbed a large section of the land between the beaches of Ramchandi and Chandrabhaga. Roads have been swept away as well. The water level around the eco-retreat site varies between 5 and 40 feet. “The wall built along the water to protect the shoreline has been damaged,” he said.
“Strong sea waves have damaged the dunes at Chandrabhaga beach, and seawater has even reached the road in some places. This has damaged the beauty of the sand dunes at the beach,” Sunil Panigrahi, another resident, stated.
Environmentalists speculated that global warming was to blame for the tidal incursion into the Puri-Konark beach, which was previously a popular tourist destination.
Meanwhile, Sarat Chandra Panigrahi, a former IIT Kharagpur professor, urged that the government investigate the situation and take appropriate measures to avoid it from happening again.
Puri District Collector Samarth Verma, on the other hand, stated that efforts will be made to avert the destruction brought in by the marauding sea.
“The impact of climate change cannot be disputed, and it is evident in coastal areas.” The district government is assessing the situation and preparing to reinforce the coastal belts. The work in this area will begin soon,” Verma stated.