BALASORE : Daily wagers and fishermen in the district have been the worst hit in recent flood in the district with thousands of families finding it difficult to eke out a living. While field work has been stopped due to the deluge, fishermen are asked not to venture into sea due to rough weather.
Even as water level in all five rivers - Subarnarekha, Budhabalanga, Jalaka, Kansabansa and Sono - in the district has come down to below the danger mark, flood water is yet to recede from low-lying areas and farm land forcing the people in the affected areas to sit idle.
The flood has had serious impact on livelihood of labourers in Sadar, Remuna, Basta, Khaira, Bahanaga, Bhogarai, Baliapal, Simulia and Soro blocks.
Daily wager Rohia Singh, who has taken shelter in a polythene tent on a stranded tractor near Fuladi, said his four-member family was living on only rice for the last three days. “I work in a brick kiln, which is now under water. The work was stopped and the kiln owner refused to pay money in advance. I will request him once more and If he does not pay, we will go hungry,” he said.
Official sources said floods have affected 1.5 lakh people of 708 villages under 110 gram panchayats in eight blocks and seven Wards of the district.
While mostly farmers and daily wagers in southern blocks like Khaira and Simulia have been affected as the calamity has struck them twice in last one month, fisheries sector and fishermen community in the coastal belt have also been affected.
Incessant rain started pounding the region from August 2 and ever since, fishermen have not been able to go for fishing. It has affected their livelihood as they depend on daily catch for survival.
Daitari Mahalik (45) lost everything in the flood. His only source of income is fishing in a pond in Keshpur. Now, all the fishes have been swept away from the pond by flood water.
“I had encircled my pond with nets. As flood water kept increasing, I raised the height of the nets and even used sarees to prevent the fish from being washed away in vain. I have spent all my savings on fish farming,” he said.
Parts of Simulia, Khaira, Bahanaga and Remuna blocks are the worst affected as the areas are still under waist-deep flood water rendering major thoroughfares.
According to Fishery Department, 40 per cent of fisheries were affected by the deluge. The inundation did not merely cause damage to fisheries but also forced construction companies to suspend work for almost a week, leaving poor workers in misery as most of them work under ‘no work no pay’ policy.