Tsunami Rehabilitation Funds were used to build an artificial reef off the coast of Kovalam designed to attract surfers to the area. Unfortunately this reef was built without the proper Environmental Impact Assessments and failed to withstand the 2011 monsoon. This has resulted in the reef being a huge waste of public funds.
In 2010, India's first artificial reef was commissioned to be built in the waters off the coast of Kerala's Kovalam beach.
The 110m long 'soft reef' was built just 100 metres away from the shoreline. It was made by stacking geo-textile bags filled with sand onto the seabed. The state tourism department claimed that the reef would create benefits such as protecting the coastline from erosion and improving the tourism potential of the area by creating the ideal conditions for surfers. The reef was constructed by a New Zealand based company which in turn diverted 75 million rupees away from the Tsunami Rehabilitation Programme.
The reef soon caused a lot of controversy; not least after the monsoon washed away many of the sandbags destroying a large part of the reef. The Kerala Swothanthra Matsya Thozhilali Federation (KSMTF) and the Kerala Tourism Watch demanded a judicial and scientific enquiry against the failings of the reef. This found that the reef was constructed without an Environmental Impact Assessment and that the project was implemented under the pretence that it would conserve the coast and promote fishing and tourism. This was not the case as many fishermen complained that their fishing nets were being damaged by the reef.
Additionally some of the sandbags were removed from the reef and have now been left to rot in a nearby field. KSMTF are currently still protesting against the misuse use of Tsunami Rehabilitation Funds.
Source: Field visit report
Attached picture: sand bag being pushed off the Kovalam Beach.
(Please note: Tourism Concern, Kabani or our partners are not responsible for the content of unverified reports.)