Sea swallows Candolim shacks

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Sea swallows Candolim Sudden erosion caused by rising water levels
during the last five days has washed away a part of the fragile Candolim beach and a couple of shacks. A few other shacks were damaged on Monday night.

Fermino Fernandes, Candolim panchayat member and convenor of River Princess Hatao Manch, told TOI on Tuesday, “The tide has been coming closer inland during the last few nights and on Monday night two shacks were washed away. The owners are literally on the streets and have shifted their tables and erected temporary sheds,” Fermino said.

A study by the National Institute of Oceanography has concluded that a 1.1 km stretch of the Dando-Sinquerim beach has been impacted by the presence of the grounded River Princess and that the sea has eaten 80 to 100 metres of the once beautiful beach. “The tidal action during the last five days has also damaged four other shacks on higher ground on a barely 150-metre stretch,” Fernandes said.

“The tide had been coming closer to the shack during the last five days,” said Karankumar Gupta, an employee of a shack at Dando, which had about 40 sq m of its space carved out by the tide. “Where we had space for six tables, there is nothing left now,” Gupta said.

NIO scientist M T Babu, who has studied the erosion at Candolim with other colleagues said, “It is being caused by the spring tide and winds dramatically change direction during the period March to May. The rise in water levels is because the wind is blowing directly from the west towards land and the fragile coast has become prone to erosion.”

Shack employees along the Candolim beach belt had been noticing the rising tide and the resulting erosion of the beach over the last 5 days. A shack employee from Dando, Karankumar Gupta and Suresh Oly, another shack employee said they were stunned by the destruction. “We used to put out carpets right up the beach where there is water now,” Oly said.

“This development has brought further misery to shack owners as they pull on for the rest of the year with earnings during barely three months,” Fernandes said expressing regret that the government had delayed in declaring the catastrophe at Candolim a state disaster.

“There is no restaurant on the spot where we usually sat, it’s gone,” says Chris Morgan a tourist from Liverpool, United Kingdom, who with her husband has been visiting the beach for several years. “Don’t they care about this beautiful beach?” Morgan asked.


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