Goa’s Vanishing Coastline – NDTV Report

This report in the NDTV Series, Save India’s Beaches, deals with the loss of 60 meters of beaches in the years that a ship, the River Princess, ran aground off the coast of Goa, one of India’s primary beach tourism destinations.

The text of the report is here:

Goa’s vanishing coastline
Tejas Mehta
Sunday, June 14, 2009, (Goa)

One of the world’s most beautiful and popular stretches of white sand are the Goa beaches.

One stormy monsoon night in the year 2000, a 240 m long ship, River Princess, broke its anchor and got stuck here. Since then it hasn’t budged.

The result? Twenty thousand tonnes of rusting metal, on Goa’s famous beaches. This has led to an environmental disaster as these beaches are now almost on the verge of disappearing as the ship interferes with the natural movement of sand.

The Goa government has been accused of inaction, of doing little to remove this ship. Now, 9 years later, just before this monsoon, they seem to have woken up. The government is placing massive tubes, which they hope will serve as artificial sand dunes, like shock-absorbers between the land and the sea. Tubes that have cost Rs 6 crore.

Almost 10 metres into the seabed, the ship blocks sand that moves along the beach feeding it.

The National Institute of Oceanography in Goa says 60 metres of the beach, south of the ship has already disappeared.

The government even introduced a new law that enabled them to confiscate the ship.

But its owner, Anil Salgaoncar, an influential business tycoon and an independent MLA dragged them to court where the matter is still pending.

“It’s the result of 10 years of rank incompetence. And this is all over the country when it comes to management of the beaches. The government thinks they don’t have to put a single rupee,” said Claude Alvares, Director, Goa Foundation.

They have allowed this to consciously degrade and that is the shameful part.

But the damage is more widespread.

Scientists say, while Goa thrives on tourism, the industry is also responsible for coastal degradation.

With no one to monitor its 100 kms coast line sand dunes and vegetation on the beaches have been wiped off destroying much of the coasts’ natural defence system.

It is a situation that is distressing a 80-year-old Goan.

“This is not my Goa anymore. The glory of the old beaches is lost,” says Joseph Menezes, Resident, Goa.

Back at the Candolim beach, the beach is gone and tourists have reduced.

Now, this monstrous disaster where the silhouette of the ship can be seen as the wave crashes on shore, is the new attraction.

The carnival in Goa as they say just doesn’t stop.

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