Plan on coastal protection languishing

The Hindu, 3 July, 2002
By M. Raghuram

MANGALORE JULY 2. While the sea continues to erode coastal areas, taking away the dwellings of fishermen, coconut palms, roads, and fishermen's establishments, the master plan on the National Coastal Protection Project on Critical Reaches in Coastal Karnataka is languishing because of the lack of finance and clearance.

According to initial estimates and proposals available with The Hindu, the consolidated scheme, estimated at Rs. 141 crore in the Ninth Five-Year Plan in 1997, was examined by the Central Water Commission, and the State Government was requested to consider only very critical reaches which required immediate protection out of the Rs. 575-crore comprehensive proposal. Most critical reaches requiring immediate protection have been identified and a comprehensive master plan estimated to cost Rs. 150 crore was submitted to the commission in February 1998 for external assistance. This proposal was examined by the commission, and considered for inclusion in the consolidated National Coastal Protection Project for an amount of Rs. 137.09 crore with some comments. This revised project proposal was also submitted to the commission by the Government in December 1999.

The Director, Central Water Commission, Coastal Erosion Directorate, New Delhi, in his letter dated July 15, 1999, requested that the scheme be cleared by the State Technical Advisory Committee and the State Flood Control Board before sending it to the commission.

Further, this proposal was re-examined by the commission, and some comments were made and communicated in its letter dated February 17.

The master plan now prepared based on the current schedule of rates works out to Rs. 141 crore. The proposal had to be cleared by the Technical Experts' Committee on Floods and Anti Sea-erosion Works in Coastal Karnataka before sending it to the Central Water Commission for obtaining external funding.