Surging sea waves have lashed the Puri beach incessantly over the last two days ingressing upto 50 meters into land and posing a major threat to Swargadwar, the biggest Hindu cremation ground in the pilgrim town.
On Tuesday morning, vendors, who had put up makeshift stalls on the beach, had to shift the structures closer to the road after four-metre high tidal waves hit the shore. Stocks of many vendors were washed away in the waves.
“We are apprehensive due to this sudden fury of the sea. It has become a threat to our business. We are shifting our makeshift shops with the sea waves crossing the shore line,” a shop owner said.
Tidal surges and high waves on the Puri beach have led to apprehensions that the holy Swargadwar might be soon engulfed by the sea. The situation has become so alarming that rumours are floating that the tidal surges would soon reach the Grand Road in the holy town.
“We had not observed this kind of situation during our earlier visit. We apprehend that the situation might get worse in future,” a tourist said.
For the last couple of days, the sea has been dangerously advancing towards the land. The Puri coastline has been bearing the brunt of erosion for the last five years when river Mangala opened a new stream and washed away several tracts of land mass, including an extended portion of the Marine Drive Road. The local administration had then closed the road for vehicular traffic and declared it unsafe.
The worst affected are the fishermen community in Chakratirtha area. At least 10,000 fishermen live in the Chakratirtha fishermen colony, situated a few metres away the the sea along the eastern coast of Puri.
Although the fishermen have been urging the State Government to relocate them to a safer place, nothing has been done so far. Sources said the district administration is planning to shift them from the sea coast and looking for a suitable patch of land.