Geotube Construction in Pentha, Odisha, India


A World Bank-supported geo-synthetic tube is under construction in Pentha, a coastal village in Odisha, India. (1) Pentha, with a population of around 50,000 fishermen, has experienced severe erosion over the past two to three decades (3). The project, funded through the Integrated Coastal Zone Management Programme, aims to protect Pentha against increased sea erosion, especially from cyclones. Cyclones in the area often cause sea surges between five to eight metres, with at least one instance of 11 metres recorded in 1999. Oceangraphic experts from the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai (IIT) claim that climate change and rising sea levels have caused changes in the circulation of the sea, resulting in additional erosion and deposition of sand. (1) This tube will be the second geotube built in India; the first was a one-kilometre tube in West Bengal constructed in 2008. The Pentha geotube will contain sediment within a geotextile ‘sleeve’ and rest parallel to the coast, rising two feet above the sea. There are two additional shields against storms in Pentha: a mud and stone wall, and a natural mangrove. (1) Though scientists from IIT studied Pentha’s morphology and the wave patterns, as well as the sand’s moisture contents prior to the project’s start (1), the Odisha State Forest Department called a halt to the project in June, 2014, because of its failure to gain forest and wildlife clearance. A letter sent by the Rajnagar Mangrove forest division to the Water Resources Department requested suspension of construction until proper authorities could assess the impact. A Divisional Forest Officer from the Rajnagar Mangrove forest division stated that proper clearance is essential, as the construction will take place close to the Gahirmatha forest and marine sanctuary. If construction agencies do not stop their work, they will be in violation of the forest conservation act and wildlife protection act, which would result in penal action, according to the Rajnagar Mangrove forest division.

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Basic Data
NameGeotube Construction in Pentha, Odisha, India
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Wetlands and coastal zone management
Climate change related conflicts (glaciers and small islands)
Specific Commoditiesgeotextiles, gabion boxes, polymer rope
Project Details and Actors
Project Area (in hectares)0.07
Level of Investment (in USD)4,000,000
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population50,000
Start Date30/09/2008
Relevant government actorsRajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) forest department;

Odisha State Forest Department;

Indian State Government;

Odisha Water Department
International and Financial InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersBiswajit Mohanty;

Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai (IIT)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingLocal government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of alternative proposals
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Other Environmental impacts
OtherPotential to disrupt mass turtle nesting in marine sanctuary
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseApplication of existing regulations
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Sources and Materials

(2) Geo-synthic tube project comes under scanner of state forest department
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'Bureaucracy on the Beach'-description of critique of project by environmentalists in 2008
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(3)Geotube embankment for ICZMP of Pentha village in Odisha (academic article)
[click to view]

(1) India deploys coastal tube defense against tidal surges
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Telegraph India story on project suspension
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Article on seawall at start of construction
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Article on IIT team of scientists studying proposed project area
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorLena Weber, Lund University Department of Human Ecology
Last update06/09/2014