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Coastal erosion in East Godavari raises red flags

by Sharath
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Andhra Pradesh is home to India’s second-longest coastline. In 2015, a team of geographical scientists and researchers used remote sensing and GIS analysis to conclude that Uppada, a village in East Godavari was prone to high coastal erosion. Some other areas with a high risk of erosion included regions like Korakupalaiyam, Pallikuppam, Toppalappalaiyam, Virrasettitannippandal, Vatturupallipalem, Ramulapatisangam, Binginipalle, Rayaduruvu, Peddaboyanapalem, Ullapalem.

Andhra Pradesh Space Applications Centre (APSAC) conducted similar research in 2019 that focused more on the beach area of Uppada. APSAC remarked that “the shoreline was severely eroded due to nearshore processes in last 2 to 3 decades.” Researchers from JNTU, Kakinada and APSAC found out that until 2012 the Uppada coastal area had already lost about 126.58 acres of land.

East Godavari district has more than 3 lac fishermen. It remains an essential region for the fisheries in the state. Uppada is densely populated with fishers who survive on fishing as their primary source of income. The people of Uppada and regions close by have suffered the nature’s wrath numerous times. Some of them recount resettling as many as three to four times. Some others recollect how N.T. Rama Rao, the legendary Telugu actor, rescued over 300 households 25 years ago and moved them away from the shoreline.

While, it is easier for the well to do households to relocate, the poor suffer the worst. Current regime’s resettlement programmes are mired with allegations of casteism. Financial compensations are not the ideal way out for the poor to overcome from this recurring problem. Only a well-thought-out policy intervention by the government can address this nature’s conundrum.

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