I was just browsing the Google map of South India casually, and one thing that struck me was the geographic placement of the western and eastern ghats.
While the western ghats seem like a protective layer from the ocean entering the earth on the Kerala side, eastern ghats run suddenly through the middle and meet the western ghats near Mettupalayam. This invoked a series of thoughts in me.
I thought about the Tsunami that hit the South Eastern India in 2004. And how the water came inlands. In Chennai, I heard water had come deep inside till Mylapore households. Several coastal villages were destroyed and lives lost.
Though it was huge and unfortunate for human lives, In terms of magnitude as far as ocean is concerned, it seemed like the ocean was just licking its lips by its tongue. ‘No big deal’ it would say, ‘and wait till I really grab you like a crab holding its prey’. Now that would be really really disastrous for human lives.
If you look closely at the Google map of southern India, and especially the Tamilnadu coast and inlands, you would see that there is no protective layer of mountains on the eastern side. No stopping of water from entering deep into the land to cities like Chennai, Puducherry state, Trichy, Madurai and Tirunelveli. Don’t think water will not come that deep inside the land. It could – because the entire South East Asia starting from New Zealand through Indonesia till Burma is under seismic stress, and earthquakes are happening there on a hourly basis and huge Tsunamis are bound to happen. For more information, see this map: http://www.iris.edu/ieb/index.html?format=text&nodata=404&starttime=1970-01-01&endtime=2025-01-01&minmag=0&maxmag=10&mindepth=0&maxdepth=900&orderby=time-desc&limit=200&maxlat=12.68&minlat=9.30&maxlon=80.62&minlon=74.82&zm=8&mt=ter
The west side is arguably protected by western ghats from the ocean, and the chances of water entering huge scale into the land are less, and on the western side, there are no possibilities of large scale earthquakes, and thus less chances of Tsunamis.
This line of thinking also brought me into thinking what would be best place to live in Tamilnadu. If one has to live safe enough inland so that they are not affected by Tsunamis or the sea water level increase encroachments, it looked like the city of Erode is safest bet. Fair enough, the whole population of Tamilnadu cannot go and live in Erode, but then atleast the important aspects of running the state like administration can happen from that place – to provide emergency time care to all the other portions of the state during distress.
Erode is snuggled between western and some portion of eastern ghats so, it would be a long long time before any significant Tsunami or sea water erosion touches it. It is also next to Cauvery so sufficient water supply is there. It’s relatively close to all the three southern states of Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh than Chennai – which is close only to Andhra Pradesh, which is an added advantage. All the administrative offices, documents, safeguarding could be moved to Erode. Coimbatore is too close for comfort as it is very near the mountains.
If not today, in 50 or 100 years time, sea water is going to eat up much of the Indian south-eastern coast through Tsunamis and sea water level increase, and it would be naive to not to plan for that eventuality.