Puducherry sources have stated that an ambitious project to restore the sandy beaches of Puducherry, a popular hangout of domestic and international tourists, has hit a few sandbars even as a controversy rages over the award of dredging contracts.
The steady erosion of the coastline in Puducherry, which originally extended almost 100 meters into the sea, is believed to have begun with the establishment of the fishing harbor in 1989, say environmentalists.
Meanwhile the construction of the harbor, with its wall
projecting into the sea, blocked the movement of sand from the south towards
the north. Though a sand bypassing system was provided at the harbor to
regularly shift the sand from south to north, this has not been done for the
last several years forcing the authorities to take up the sand restoration
This year, marking a departure from the practice, the Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) was chosen for the dredging contract over private contractors on the instructions of the Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi. Though the DCI had commenced the dredging process after a delay as it had faced a number of challenges, including the sub-optimal functioning of the high-tech dredger, the dredged sand is being deposited right next to the harbor instead of near the Gandhi Statue.