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Karnataka Minister promises to check sea erosion at Ullal in 2 years

Our Bureau

The plan is to be implemented in phases, with Rs 50 crore to be spent in the first phase to construct a `permanent sea wall' along some parts of the coast.

MANGALORE, July 2

THE Ullal town panchayat has submitted a memorandum to the Karnataka Minister of Ports and Fisheries, Mr Vasant Saliyan, seeking a `permanent solution' to the problem of sea erosion.

The problem, which was earlier being `tackled' by the Department of Minor Irrigation ever since it was first acknowledged by the State Government nearly 25 years ago, was `handed over' to the Department of Ports and Fisheries last year, ostensibly in an attempt to find a quick and permanent solution to the problem.

Stating that all the Ministers and officials who for years have been visiting Ullal-Kotepura and other areas affected by sea erosion have gone on promising to find a permanent solution to the problem, the Ullal town panchayat has pointed out that year-after-year several fishing families have had to bear the brunt of the problem and watch their houses and business establishments being swallowed up by the Arabian Sea.

With this town panchayat area, which has a population of over 50,000, bearing the brunt of the southwest monsoon year after year, the entire civic infrastructure in the area including roads and the drainage system is also in a shambles, according to town panchayat officials.

Mr Saliyan, who was recently inducted into the State Cabinet, has, on his part, been visiting the `affected areas' and talking about Rs 200-crore plan based on the `Kerala model'. This time the aim, according to him, is to find a permanent solution within two years. This was Mr Saliyan's first visit to Ullal after he took charge of the Ports and Fisheries Ministry. A delegation from the State is to meet the Prime Minister in New Delhi and try to convince him of the seriousness of the problem, according to Mr. Saliyan.

The plan is to be implemented in phases, with Rs 50 crore to be spent in the first phase to construct a `permanent sea wall' along some parts of the coast. With the `New Zealand model', which was so much in the news last year more or less abandoned, a French proposal is now said to still be under consideration.

For temporary relief, however, repair work would be undertaken on the break waters, boulders would continue to be dumped into the sea, and sand bags would be used wherever they have been found effective, the Minister said

During his visit to the `affected areas', Mr Saliyan is also said to have come up with a novel scheme to produce electricity from the waves that are causing so much misery to the fisherfolk.

Several `developed countries', according to him, have the technology to harness the force of the waves to produce power.

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