Contempt of Court by Pondicherry Government

Truck dumping stones in Solainagar
Dumping rocks in Solainagar

On 22 January 2008, the Pondicherry government, in direct violation of the interim injunction against the construction of the groyne field in Pondicherry, resumed work on two of the eleven proposed groynes – one in Kuruchikuppam, just north of the old town of Pondicherry, and one in Solainagar, just before the Tamil Nadu border.

Earth mover working in Kuruchikuppam
Earth moving in Kuruchikuppam

Notices sent to the Chief Secretary of Pondicherry had no effect – work continued feverishly on 23 January 2008, at a rate of a truckload a minute being dumped on the groyne at Kuruchikuppam.


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4 responses to “Contempt of Court by Pondicherry Government

  1. The groins should be constructed offshore – 100 meters from the existing shoreline. Each groin needs to be about 30 meters long and should be parallel to the shore line. On occasion groins are built perpendicuar to the shoreline extending from the shoreline into the surf for about 200 meters.

    The current construction do not appear to be groins – they appear to be seawall reinforcement and these maybe necessary from a civil structural standpoint to prevent the undermining of civil foundations on the beach road however they will not create or restore the previous beach.

    Am surprised that a proper hydrological model is not built and all of the effects simulated so that the future port’s effects can be modelled to prevent other undesired unforeseen effects.

    The industrialization of the coast is inevitable all over the world where large populations exist – it is better to be proactive and scientifically accurate so that the model provides community buy in for the port developers and the Pondicherry government.

  2. In addition to the above previous comment – please visit google earth – one can look at the Tel Aviv, Israel coastline where a number of groins and their effects are in evidence.

    Proper groin construction is deemed the lowest cost passive shore remediation and protection method.

    Would have liked to post the images as they’re pretty dramatic however could not get them to paste into this screen.

  3. Aurofilio

    Hi David,

    I’m afraid that its not as simple as that.
    Groynes along this coastline disrupt the natural movement of sand (the Littoral Drift or Long Shore Drift – LSD) and cause further erosion down the coast.

    Building groynes is merely replicating what the breakwaters at the harbour have already done to this coastline, i.e. erode the coastline further down the coast.

    Several of us here do not think that this is acceptable, specially when there is a solution that’s already available. The harbour is fully equipped with a sand by-passing system and the only problem is that it is not being used properly. And surely it isn’t for a lack of funds, because if there is money available for building the Groynes, then why not use that money for sand by-passing?

    The rumours are that the reason why groynes are probably preferred to sand by-passing is because it feeds several vested interests and allows them to make a big and quick buck.

    There are no real technical and scientific studies that have been made to prove that groynes are preferable to sand nourishment along this particular coastline and to deal with this specific problem. So there is no clear reasoning for building groynes here.

    Groynes might be good in Tel Aviv and several other places in the world, but there are many other places in the world that have been spoiled by groynes. There are several case studies that demonstrate that.

    Whatever be the case, our concern is not whether groynes are good or bad. Our concern is that before any ad hoc measures are implemented, what is needed first and foremost is a proper and detailed technical study. This is what several of us have been demanding since the very beginning of this story.

    Unfortunately some pseudo-studies have been undertaken, but if you take a look at them you will find that they lack any scientific understanding of this problem.

    Therefore, several of us here are not objecting to groynes or the industrialization of the coastline.
    What we clearly do not want is the degradation of the coastal environment. And it is certainly possible to develop the coastline without degrading it. But this development has to be done sensibly and in the intrerest of the citizen.

    I hope that this sheds some more light on this complex matter.


  4. Aurofilio

    The ultimate optimal solution is sand pumping and dredging – clearly requires a large funded continual annual operating and maintenance budget – these are hard to fund at a Pondicherry or TN state level – here in the US dredging, sand bypassing are all funded at the federal level – the costs overwhelm the budgets of wealthy towns here on the east coast of the US.

    I think you will find a similar problem in India – the solution you are pursuing needs annual funding – to achieve this you need incremental revenue generation. Without the revenue to offset the monthly costs of sand pumping/dredging how do you get this line item paid for ?

    A capital expenditure project is more palatable because it’s a one time line item – bonds can be floated and the annual maintenance is low.

    I am not saying groins are the ultimate solution – they are the interim solution until someone can point to a funded annual maintenance budget to do what you’re talking about – dredging and sand pumping – known to be highly expensive operations.

    Unfortunately it comes down to the bottom line of rupees – in our town the yacht club is still in business because the federal government spends $ 4000,000 annually to dredge a small section of tidal inlet – they do this not for the yacht club but to preserve a couple of jobs at a cement clinker facility. Does it make sense ? – absolutely not – however it’s a federal expenditure that has been going since the 1950s when there were hundreds of jobs at the cement facility and further up the river. Today there are 12 jobs protected in some fashion by a $ 4000, 000 annual dredging bill.

    So until the port comes in to Pondy with the incremental revenue generation and the ability to support the dredging costs there is no sand pumping and dredging – and yet with the opposition to the port how do you fund the dredging operation ? So moving all of this off of dead center you opt for the interim solution of building the groins – plan it, model it hydraulically and build it with community buy in from those impacted.

    Would love to help out here if you need me – setting up the budget for what you are describing – it’s probably a crore and a half of rupees a year at least and has to be spent continually every year after that.

    Getting this funded by the town/state/New Delhi is the next critical step. Coastal preservation maintenance budgets are notoriously hard to establish world-wide as the benefits are perceived to be for a privileged handful.

    Hope this is of some help to your efforts and good luck with all the good work you are performing.

    All the best


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