Mangala changes course, forms estuary

Puri: River Mangala has once again changed its course into the Bay of Bengal owing to heavy siltation much to the chagrin of environmental activists.

The river, which had frequently changed its course last year, has created a fresh estuary on the beach here. However, Mangala’s erratic behaviour is not new to people of Puri. Similar change in its meandering course was reported way back in 2007 after heavy deposition of sand and silt at the estuary. The river had created a separate mouth into the sea in August last year when its natural estuary was choked with silt.

Subsequently, large scale erosion of beach was reported near Swargadwar cremation ground here. The incident had created furore in the state. Taking the issue seriously, the state government had urged an expert group from IIT-Chennai to study coastal erosion. 

According to sources, the IIT panel ascertained the erratic behaviour of River Mangala as one of the causes of coast erosion. The expert team had advised the government to desilt the estuary before the advent of monsoon.

As per the advice of expert panel, the Irrigation Department had engaged the Orissa Construction Company (OCC) to dredge the river mouth last year. The state government had allocated Rs 50 lakh for the project, sources revealed.

However, heavy siltation at the estuary once again came to the fore in April this year. Subsequently, the Irrigation department had taken measures to dredge the choked estuary. The department had spent Rs 25 lakh on the project.

“Mangala has changed its course several times in the past. It has recently created a new mouth to the sea causing coastal erosion. The state government should consult experts and act accordingly,” said an environmentalist.   

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