Posts Tagged 'beach'

The Story of Pondicherry’s Eroding Coastline in a Single Image

Erosion of the Pondicherry beach and coast caused by construction of the harbour

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.

Continue reading ‘The Story of Pondicherry’s Eroding Coastline in a Single Image’

The People Fight Back

Rally in Support of C. Balamohan, Pondicherry

Yesterday was a good day for democracy in Pondicherry. The people took to the streets to protest a government which, time-and-again, deftly protects the private interests of its corrupt officials, disregards the public good, and holds itself to be above the law.

The issue concerns the ongoing battle over the illegal concession given to a private developer by former Chief Secretary Khairwal and Minister Valsaraj to build a huge port complex in the heart of this tiny heritage town, and the vast environmental, economic, and social devastation this development will cause.

Continue reading ‘The People Fight Back’

Gods Go for Beach Outing, Find Little Sand

Masi Magam Festival, Pondicherry

Yesterday marked the Masi Magam festival in Pondicherry, a celebration which allows the Hindu gods Vishnu and Shiva – or at least their temple-idol look-alikes, more numerous than ersatz Elvises at a Las Vegas convention – to stroll among the sea-side villages on hand- or ox-pulled carts and have a ritual dip in the waves.

It’s very festive, as all good festivals should be.

And very loud, as all good Indian festivals should be.

Continue reading ‘Gods Go for Beach Outing, Find Little Sand’

In Memoriam: Pondicherry’s Beautiful Sandy Beaches

Pondicherry Coast 2006 satellite image

Yesterday, I took a boat ride with some friends up the Pondicherry coast, and beyond into Tamil Nadu. The coastal erosion is really quite horrific. As you can perhaps make out in the 2006 satellite image, above, more than 98% of the beach to the north of the harbor has completely disappeared, replaced by rip-rap seawall. Seven kilometers of beautiful white sand are gone in Pondicherry, and the environmental disaster now stretches well into Tamil Nadu.

Continue reading ‘In Memoriam: Pondicherry’s Beautiful Sandy Beaches’

Pondicherry Beach Erosion: a Man-Made Environmental Disaster

The citizens of Pondicherry are finding their voices, and it is inspirational to see. They are crying out against the crooked deal which proposes to place a new deep-water port at the south end of tow, vast profits in the hands of private developers, and environmental disaster throughout Pondicherry and into the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu.

Usually, the corrupt public officials and venal private developers are a winning combination in India; the public interest and the health of civic institutions take a beating. This time, up against smart, informed citizens’ action groups that cannot be bought-off, it looks as though truth, decency, and the environment have a fighting chance.

There are a number of environmental, livelihood, and criminality issues at stake in the proposed development of a port in Pondicherry by Subhash Projects Marketing Limited and Ohm Metals, but perhaps the beach-sand issue is at the heart of the fight. To better understand how a new port would starve the coastline of sand, create penetrating erosion, and cause salinity in the watertable and topsoil, click here to view an excellent slide presentation (in pdf format).

The proposed port in Pondicherry must be defeated for many reasons. Hopefully, this presentation will help clarify one of the important environmental issues.

Pondicherry’s Sandy Beaches Imperiled by New Port Development

sob-banner.jpg

Study the photos above. In less than two decades — and it may have been much more rapid than that — Pondicherry’s beautiful sandy beach along the the main promenade of the town has completely disappeared, leaving a rough coastline of riprap boulders, brought in with heavy equipment to staunch further erosion.

What happeed to the gorgeous beach front? It eroded away, largely as a function of breakwaters (stone jetties that protrude into the sea to arrest wave action), which were built between 1986 and 1989 at the harbour entrance where the Ariyankuppam River joins the sea.

And now the Government of Pondicherry is planning to compound the damage.

Continue reading ‘Pondicherry’s Sandy Beaches Imperiled by New Port Development’


Blasts from the Past

Man Up!
Man up you pussy!

... because the idiocy of manliness is an evergreen topic.

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Talking Turkey
how to cook a perfect turkey in half the time

... because Canada and the US will celebrate their Thanksgiving holidays and, regrettably and preventably, not 1-cook-in-10 will serve a decent turkey.

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Filial Piety Awareness Day
Kaki Tusler, Mother's Day Celebrant

... because everyday is Mother's Day.

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America Dreaming Small
American Dream

... because the American Dream seems but a distant memory, given the country's dominant ethos of small-mindedness.

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Serenity and Gratitude to Bring in the New Year
New Year's Eve at Tibetan Pavillion

... to remind us that not every mix of Tibetans and Western spiritual seekers has to be nauseating.

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Incredible Vision
Infinite Vision

... to celebrate the new edition of Infinite Vision published in India.

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Expelliarmus! Harry Potter and the Path to Gandhian Nonviolence
Expelliarmus, Potter, Gandhi, Nonviolence

... reprised because military strategy seems more cruel and less effective than ever -- and certainly there is a better way.

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India Going Nowhere Fast
Nano in Flames

... because cars are ruining Pondicherry, where I live. How badly are they fucking up your Indian town?

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Understanding the Gift Economy
Gift Economy Explained

... reprinted because more-and-more people seem want to understand the gift economy. (Yeah!)

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