August 5, 2022
Subhasish Chakraborty’s Special Mention on the issue of the suffering of the people of Bengal due to coastal erosion
Sir, India has nearly 7,000 kilometres of coastline, of which Bengal has over 500 kilometres. A Ministry of Earth Sciences report on ‘National Assessment of Shoreline Changes along Indian Coast’ shows that between 1900 and 2018, 34% of India’s coastline suffered erosion, 26% experiences accretion and 40% is stable. Of this, on the Eastern coast, Bengal suffered 60.5% erosion, and on the West coast Kerala suffered 46.4% erosion. Over long periods of
time, sediment and rocks along the coastline are weathered away due to the action of waves, tides, currents, cyclones and winds. With the emergence of the threat of global warming and rise in sea levels due to melting of polar ice caps, a new threat has emerged of submergence of coastal areas. Activities such as construction of coastal structures, breach and mining and dams on rivers can exacerbate the problem. In Bengal, there are more than 32 lakh people including fishermen who are directly engaged in fishing and people indirectly dependent on the fishing industry for livelihood and sustenance. These communities live and work by the coast, often in very precarious conditions. Small scale fishing industries generate an annual turnover of nearly Rs.500 crores. Fishing and aquaculture account for 1% of India’s GDP with Bengal and Andhra Pradesh accounting for the largest share of this. I request the Government to ensure that the fragile ecosystems of coastal regions, people of the coastal areas, and their livelihoods are protected from erosion.