With the arrival of monsoon, natural forces come alive in the coastal region of Karnataka. The interplay of sand, water and wind engage in a sea dance, terrifying those who live on the coast. In common parlance, this is called sea or coastal erosion which is often been called as a slow onset of disaster. During the period monsoon Clouds spread out over the south Arabian Sea along the Coastline of Karnataka (Ullal ) and it becomes rough.
Considering the enormity of the problem of coastal hazards threatening the Security of Communities in coastal belts of Ullal Mangalore, which was a village earlier which is gradually transforming into a City. It has been receiving heavy monsoon rainfall every year that starts from June and continues till August. My study is based on my understanding of the Socio-economic condition of the affected Community, their daily encounter with this Coastal hazard and their short-term and long-term response to it.
Where I found that the problem of the sea erosion in Ullal has its root deep into the structural issues that came up as one of the major causes of sea-erosion. During South-West (SW) monsoon the wide summer beaches of this coast experience erosion. The wind speed is likely to gush up to 30-40 km/hr. In fact, the wave heights along the coast would also extend up to 6-8 feet.
Hence, the Government prohibits the fishermen to go for fishing and other offshore events as the sea becomes rough during monsoon. It’s been found that from the last 8-10 years, Ullal has lost its 3-400 meters of land. During this course of time, large number of houses and land has been eroded and destructed permanently. The community settlements that are getting affected every year near the sea-shore are not built on registered lands. It’s the Government land. The CRZ laws have been found liberal in case of building houses within the 500 meter of seashore for the Coastal Communities of Ullal, considering the fishermen occupation and various other socio-economic reasons. But, with each passing year, the Coastal vulnerability to these sea hazards is further aggravated by complex interplay of several factors, viz., population density, haphazard developed urban centers and settlements, livelihood dependence on sea resources, status of infrastructure, socio-economic profile of coastal communities and lack of awareness and education of communities about hazards and risk management.
The two major Coastal Communities in Ullal are of Hindu and Muslim where among the Hindus, 3000 marine fisherman are dependent on the sea for their livelihoods which, in general, have poorly constructed buildings. Since, the educational profile of the Coastal Community of Ullal is low, livelihood of these Coastal Community is highly dependent on fishing which has compelled them to stay near the sea shore. On the other hand, the Muslim Community are more into occupations such as driving autos, beedi-rolling, etc. The reasons for them to live near the shoreline are broadly two: First, their ancestors have been living there for a long time and the other is their Socio-economic profile is not strong enough to support their living conditions and livelihood in the cities.
The land on which they have built their houses near the sea are free, unregistered land that has been encroached by these communities to continue their occupation of fishing conveniently. The other socio-cultural factor that has further aggravated their vulnerability is the history of Ullal, which has been highly sensitive to Communal Violence between Hindus and Muslims in their history, whose impacts are still there in the community living there. Their socio-economic vulnerability has made them more susceptible to the risk of sea erosion. The Communities lack the required human resources to improve their socio-economic condition and also to develop the social cohesion and trust between themselves. The villagers who were severely affected by erosion extend along the Ullal beach from Kotepura in the north to the Mukkacheri and Someshwara in the south and this showed the damage sites of Kaikonagar “several houses that were recently destroyed by waves are still visible”.
According to the local people, many attempts in the past to build rock walls on the beach did not succeed. Almost all the coconut palms that provided protection to houses have been uprooted or badly damaged. “Some people have abandoned their houses after they were severely damaged”. There is a huge requirement of providing and improving existing coastal infrastructure, communication, roads, fish landing jetties, education and health centers to those communities.