For two decades, the Government of Pondicherry has watched as the town’s beautiful sand beach disappeared and fishing villages fell into the sea. Not until Beach Road, the town’s famous promenade, began subsiding did the government take action — and, naturally, it took the wrong action.
Rather than breaking the harbour which is causing the erosion, the governement began an expensive and futile program of “fortifying” the shoreline with heavy boulders. This battle cannot be won with rocks. Indeed, hard-structures like seawalls and groynes exacerbate and accelerate the devastation. The erosive force of the sea can only be passified by the restoration of the sandy beach, the crucial buffer between sea and land.
Look at the photo above. Is there any question of what is causing our coastline to erode?
Why does the Government of Pondicherry preserve the barely-utilized harbour when it is causing such widespread destruction of our precious coastline? Because they are angling to build a new deep-water port at the same location — a project that would be twenty times larger, more destructive, and more economically useless than the existing harbour. To destroy the existing breakwater would not only be an admission of failures past; it would be a concession that the corruption-nourished port plan will entail environmental devastation.
The solution is simple; but it seems our politicians are simpler still.