Saturday, March 15, 2008

Silver Beach again in state of despair

To my knowledge, first large scale project on beautification of Silver Beach was carried out by then District Collector Sandeep Saxena. In an attempt to prevent the beach from erosion, district administration planted coconut and palm trees throughout Silver Beach. I wonder how many of you can picturise 'that' beach.

Our beach is undergoing a constant change due to both natural and human induced factors, which is very well visible. The river Gedilam to the south of the beach engulfs a good portion of the beach whenever there is a flood. It forms mouth joining sea almost every year which brings about a drastic change in the shape of the beach. Tsunami has brought in major changes. Many agree the beach was far more beautiful before tsunami.

Next major beautification attempt was made by Gagandeep Singh Bedi. His initiative can roughly be divided as re-tsunami beautification and post-tsunami beautification. I could remember, before tsunami, the beach had chairs laid in beautiful arrangement, were two bamboo watch towers, couple of shops which were entirely made of bamboo and a beautiful boat house. Tsunami. Devastation.

Silver Beach then saw around of beautification. New chairs, new dustbin, new boards requesting visitors to use dust bins and keep the beach clean. Some used dust bin, but beach never was clean.

The dredging activity carried out (probably to accommodate more boats which were donated by aid agencies from around the world. After tsunami, I guess the number of boats now increased by as much as three times) on the southern end of the beach, along the bank of Gedilam. This has brought in a permanent change (if anything can be permanent) in the shape of the beach. The sand scape shrunk dramatically.

Then, the 2005 flood. It is usual that Gedilam breaks into sea whenever there is flood. But this time the river the largest mouth ever seen and the flood water washed away more than half of the beach (probably the dredging activity carried out changed the regular course of the river, and facilitated the water to flow more towards north).

Then came yet another round of beautification by Gagandeep Singh Bedi. New chairs, new dustbins, new boat house and new play materials for children. The chairs and the play materials which we have in the beach today were brought up in this around of beautification.

As days pass by, these facilities becomes unusable due to constant mishandling by public. Adults use swings and multiaction play systems which supposed only for children. A broad in front of this play area reads that the facility is only for children. Not many bothers. The result is what you see in the photos below.








Multiaction play system




Photographs: Shantha Kumar

8 comments:

முகு said...

Jean,

Really surprising...Who to blame?
We are partly resposible for this
worst condition.

We, public always used to blame others for negligence.But we don't want to spend small time to report it to concerned department.

Hope your photographs may open concerned official eyes.

anbudan,MUGU

MOHAN said...

These photo denotes the inactive district administration n also government has to avoid getting money for parking in beach so that it will be very helpful for those who come regularly to beach for walking , jacking n for various purpose as if they made it in our stadium ......hope for the change

Anonymous said...

Dear Citizens,
District Administration is equally concerned about the Silver Beach and we have taken a serious note of the deteriorating situation there. Administration has already taken following steps
1. Municipality has been intructed to have a Watchman
2.Rs. 100 lakhs for restoring it and further improvements.
3. Engaged an outstanding landscape consultant who is going to visit on 20th Mrch morning.

The following suggestions are offered for your comments
1.whether some Fencing should be done?
2. Whether nominal entry fees should be imposed for the portion of beach which is fenced and having facilities and play equipments.
3. Whether Public Pvt partnership model be tried?
Your suggestions are welcome and you can meet Collector during inspection on 20th morning if you desire.
Rajendra Ratnoo, IAS
District Collector,
Cuddalore

Jean-Claude said...

Dear Sir, Thank you very much. We will get back to you shortly.

Anonymous said...

first of all i would like t thank the district administration for the quick response.
1.Appointing watchman in beach is a nice move.
2.During bedi's period the free parking facility was provided for nearly 6 to 8 months.As like in stadium this parking problem can be delt.
3.the sweepers do their work near the playing areas only,but rest of the beach looks ugly.
4.The street lights in beach near the govt medicine stores were not working properly,the jogging peoples & walkers afraid due to the insufficient light(two lamp posts werenot working).

shanmugam said...

Dear Sir,
Thank you very much

Kartik Kannan said...

1) Generally a tourist friendly beach would have provisions for a lot of waste management. Lots of friendly dustbins placed at strategic areas
2) Areas along the beach, which are accesible as a sidewalk, for senior citizens
3) Removal of huts along the beach, as natural property is sometimes not maintained well.
4) If tourism needs to be promoted on a beach, then its essential that hotels are built close to the beach, with clear directions.
5) On the beach, one should try and avoid having childrens play areas( as it is not mianitained properly and becomes junk)
6) Sidewalks or sitting spots on the beach are welcome, as the question of iron rusting doest arise.
7) Have police patrol just to ensure that no illegal activities like brothel or drugs happen on the beach and nearby areas.
8) Ideally encourage hawkers to have stalls in any one particular part of the beach, as it makes at least some part available to peace and seclusion, which many people come for.
9) Idealyy 2-3 life guards on patrol may identify rough areas and save lives, when youngsters venture out into sea

Regards

Kartik Kannan
http://katchucrap.blogspot.com
PGPM Batch of 08, Great Lakes Institute of Management

Jean-Claude said...

Dear Sir,

1. Beach can be extended on either sides. Since the Gedilam river to the south forms mouth during monsoon season, extending towards north would be good.

The northern part of the beach has beautiful sand dunes, but the locals use it as toilet(probably because they don't have proper facilities for that. So this needs to be addressed.) Also the creepers in these sand dunes needs to be cleared.

2. At the center of these sand dunes, there is a centuries old lighthouse. This can be turned into a tourist attraction.

3. The boat house can be further improved. Speed boats and other water sports can be introduced.

4. Previous development activities on the beach, has always minimized the sand scape and severely deteriorated the sand quality(the road connecting beach with Cuddalore OT has contributed to the maximum damage). Preserving the sand quality is must to make the beach a preferred tourist destination.

5. Building new (permanent)concrete structures spoils the natural beauty of the beach. Restaurants if allowed can asked to build only using bamboos(like the one we had earlier) and other natural materials.