The beach near the Gangasagar Mela site faces erosion measures taken to prevent degradation
Sagar Island (WB), Jan. 7 (PTI) The beach within 500 meters of the Kapil Muni temple, the center of the Gangasagar Mela, is facing steady erosion, prompting the West Bengal government to take steps to prevent beach degradation. An official said on Saturday.
Some “temporary arrangements” have already been made in view of the nine-day mela that begins on Sunday and will attract lakhs of pilgrims, while long-term measures will be taken after the assembly ends.
Erosion in this area is natural and is caused by the tidal prism (the amount of water in an estuary between mean high tide and mean low tide) and associated chain effects, but the Yas cyclone in May 2021 worsened the situation there.
“The beach near Kapila Muni Ashram has disappeared due to erosion. It is 450 meters from the temple. All three roads near the temple are vulnerable. But there is no need to worry. We have taken up a pilot project to restore the beach keeping Makara Sankranti Sabha in mind,” he told PTI.
Mahanta Sanjay Das, head priest of the Kapil Muni Temple in Sagar Island, said the West Bengal government was involved in the problem.
“The water is gradually approaching the ashram. The cooperation of the center is also needed,” he said.
Apart from the Mela area, soil erosion has also occurred in Bangimnagar, Sumadinagar and Shippur areas of the island, and the administration has taken steps to arrest it.
“We have used trap bags on the beach near Kapila Muni Ashram. We have covered at least 475 meters there. If this is successful, we plan to use this method to prevent erosion there,” the official said.
Trap bags are better than regular sandbags to prevent flooding and erosion.
“The eroded part of the beach was first filled with soil and then filled with geotextile bags filled with sand. Trap bags were then placed to prevent erosion and strengthen the restoration enough to fight high tides,” he added.
An Irrigation Department official said these are temporary measures and once the mela is over, the administration is going to deploy tetrapods in “high” areas to prevent further beach erosion.
A tetrapod is a form of wave-disrupting concrete block used to prevent erosion.
“At present devotees cannot use the tetrapods due to safety and security concerns as these are concrete-built,” said an irrigation department official.
These tetrapods have been used successfully in Fraserganj and Thika to prevent coastal erosion.
Lakhs of Hindu pilgrims from different parts of the country and outside gather at Sagar Island on the occasion of ‘Makara Sankranti’ to take a holy dip at the confluence of the holy Ganga and the Bay of Bengal.