The sea on the Valsad coast is eating into the land even as several villages have been engulfed by it in the last few decades. According to residents of Moti Danti, close to the Arabian coast, there were 18,000 residents in the village in the 80s. Most of them have left over the years due to the onslaught of the sea. Over 400 hectares of private and government land have been submerged by seawater when the Arabian sea marched into almost one and half kilometres inside the coastline in the past 40-45 years, locals said.
“The place where I was born is now half a kilometre inside the sea,” an 89-year-old former sarpanch of Danti, Dhanji Tandel said. Like Dhanji, village leaders from Danti, Kakwad, Dandi and other nearby villages have been raising concerns over the advancing coastline and erosion.
“I remember how we would go to hand over memorandums to the district collector about this issue in 1982,” Tandel recalled. Danti’s neighbouring village Dandi too faces the threat of becoming a memory soon. “The coast was around two kilometres away when I was young, but now it is barely 150 metres away. Seawater sometimes enters some parts of the village during major high tides a few times in a year,” said Prakash Patel, former sarpanch of Dandi.
Finance minister and BJP MLA from Pardi of Valsad, Kanubhai Desai said, “The government has started a project to develop embankments across the coastline in Valsad. Lease for sand mining has also been discontinued in the area so that the coastal area is not damaged further.”