Many rivers, considered the lifeline of Jagatsinghpur, have either dried up or are polluted with industrial waste and sewerage.
One such river is Alaka that was flowing through Biridi, Jagatsinghpur, Balikuda, Raghunathpur and Nuagaon blocks. Today, it has completely dried up.
The river stretches up to Erasama and joins the sea at Boitakulia mouth under Erasama block.
Alaka has been the lifeline for thousands of villagers of Biridi, Jagatsinghpur, Balikuda and Erasama blocks. The river provided irrigation water to hundreds of acres of land besides giving fishermen their livelihood. Over the years, the river has narrowed down due to siltation and encroachments.
Sources said even the Fishery Department is today ignorant about the actual land area of the river as large chunks of lands have been encroached upon.
This apart, people who depend upon the polluted river for drinking water have been complaining of problems like skin and teeth diseases.
Although they have been demanding the river’s renovation and de-weeding, no steps have been taken so far by the local administration.
Protesting the state of the river, villagers of five panchayats of Balikuda block under Alaka Surkhya Abhiyan recently hit the roads demanding its renovation.
The villagers also demanded construction of embankments on both sides of the river to prevent soil erosion.