Kendrapara: Unknown miscreants torched a portion of high tensile ropes called “geo-synthetic tubes” used over gabion boxes to hold granite stones together as a protective wall against sea erosion along the Pentha beach near here Sunday morning.
The damage to the tensile ropes caused due to fire is estimated to be about Rs 5 lakh, said Aul Saline Embankment Division executive engineer Purna Chandra Rath.
Talking to newspersons here Sunday, Rath said it is the handiwork of some miscreants in their bid to destroy the protective wall against high tides, built to save the lives and property of at least 41,222 persons residing in 56 villages under Rajnagar block.
While the pilot project was taken up against the gradual incursion of turbulent sea into human
habitation, the miscreants have torched about 15 metres of high tensile ropes laid along the geo-synthetic tube sea wall at Pentha to bind together granite stones on the gabion boxes.
Notably, the geo-synthetic sea wall was raised to protect denudation of the coast from the onslaught of sea with the technical support and consultation of IIT-Chennai experts.
The Aul Saline Embankment project was undertaken with the assistance of the World Bank-funded Integrated Coastal Zone Management Programme (ICZMP). An amount of `32.95 crore was spent for the construction of the geo-synthetic tube sea wall aided by the technical know-how of IIT-Chennai.
The matter came to light in the wee hours of Sunday when some locals informed the officials of Rajnagar embankment sub-division. Rath accompanied by other officials rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation. On information, the Rajnagar fire tender personnel reached the spot and doused the fire in less than two hours. The locals and some officials of the concerned department helped douse the fire. “A massive damage to the coast was averted with the participation of the locals and fire brigade personnel on time,” said Rath.
Assistant executive engineer of Rajnagar embankment sub-division Umesh Chandra Swain lodged an FIR at Rajnagar police station alleging the incident as an attempt to sabotage and destroy public property.
Meanwhile, a threat perception about the collapse of geo-synthetic sea wall persists in the wake of the damage as tidal waters constantly lash the fragile embankment.
“I have intimated the matter to the Principal Secretary of Water Resources Department about the damage to geo-synthetic tube sea wall. A high-level technical team from Bhubaneswar will visit Pentha to assess the damage and take necessary steps to repair the portion”, added Rath.
When contacted, District Collector Samarth Verma said the incident is unfortunate. “The project was taken up to protect the people and seaside villages along the Pentha coast from the marauding sea.
It is the responsibility of the locals to protect and preserve the geo-synthetic wall laid along the coast,” said Verma.