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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
Name of conflict:Geotube Construction in Pentha, Odisha, India
State or province:Odisha
Location of conflict:Pentha
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 commodities:Land
geotextiles, gabion boxes, polymer rope
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Project area:0.07
Level of Investment:4,000,000
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:50,000
Start of the conflict:30/09/2008
Relevant government actors:Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) forest department;
Odisha State Forest Department;
Indian State Government;
Odisha Water Department
International and Finance InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Biswajit Mohanty;
Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai (IIT)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Development 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
Other Environmental impactsPotential to disrupt mass turtle nesting in marine sanctuary
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Application of existing regulations
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

(2) Geo-synthic tube project comes under scanner of state forest department
[click to view]

'Bureaucracy on the Beach'-description of critique of project by environmentalists in 2008
[click to view]

(3)Geotube embankment for ICZMP of Pentha village in Odisha (academic article)
[click to view]

(1) India deploys coastal tube defense against tidal surges
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Article on seawall at start of construction
[click to view]

Article on IIT team of scientists studying proposed project area
[click to view]

Telegraph India story on project suspension
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Lena Weber, Lund University Department of Human Ecology
Last update06/09/2014
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