JAGATSINGHPUR: People of Kujang and Tirtol have alleged that the breaches in river Paika were manmade and demanded a high-level inquiry into the allegation.
Flood water entered 29 villages under Tirtol and Kujang blocks due to breaches in two embankments of river Paika on Friday night. The breaches occurred at Kolar in Tirtol block and Bansera in Kujang block. Sources said 50-foot breach occurred at Kolar at 11.45 pm, while it was 30-foot at Bansera at around the same time. Kolar, Patapur, Dhanua, Adapada, Nagapura, Tartol, Poagradeiur Joganaia, Alikana, Ranitola, Danilo, Kosala, Saralpur, Badajungle, Erakana, Mundida, Kesipur, Kansari, Bijipur, Sankhswer and Gopalpur Villages were affected by the breaches.
The locals claimed that the embankments at Kolar and Bansera were strong enough to sustain the surge of overflowing Paika and there was no chance of occurrence of breaches. “The breaches were deliberately done by some contractors to get the contract work for repair,” a villager alleged.
Tirtol BDO Bhanja Kishore Rout said there was no apprehension of embankment breaching at Kolar as it was a strong structure. “Role of some miscreants in damaging the embankment cannot be ruled out,” he said.
A villager of Kolar Adhir Swain said some miscreants allegedly created holes in the embankment at night and under the force of flood water, it subsequently turned into a 50-feet breach a few hours later. At least 25,000 people of four panchayats were hit.
At Bansera, a 30-foot breach occurred the same day and flood water entered several villages. Here, the people alleged that mafia indulged in sand mining from the banks of Paika were responsible for the breach. They further said the contractors and sand mafia used earth moving vehicles, tractors and trucks to lift sand which weakened the embankment over the years.
Local legislator and Excise Minister Damodar Rout has directed the district administration to inquire into the allegations at both the places. Collector Satya Kumar Mallick said the administration has not yet received any formal complaint from villagers of Tirtol and Kujang and inquiry can be ordered only after receiving the complaints.