KENDRAPARA: Panic gripped the riverside villages of Badiha gram panchayat in Mahakalapada block after a saline embankment caved in on Thursday night causing extensive damage to road.
“A portion of the 200-metre saline embankment caved in at Kansarabadadandua village near the Gobari river. As a result, road communication has been totally cut-off. The embankment was repaired two years back. But due to substandard work, it caved in,” alleged Giridhari Mandal, a villager.
The tidal waves have transgressed the weak saline embankment in the village. Several agriculture fields will be salinised if the authorities fail to repair the embankment soon, said villager Jagabandhu Mandal.
Sources said the Gobari river has already devoured large tracts of agricultural land, including houses in the riverside villages and at least 220 farmers rendered landless within two decades. If the erosion goes on, more than 4,000 people of Kansarabadadandua, Bahadiha and other nearby villages will become homeless within a few years, said Dilip Mandal of Bahadiha village.
A large number of prawn farm owners have been allegedly damaging the saline embankments to allow saline water into their hatcheries to breed shrimps. But the authorities are not taking any steps for repair and maintenance, alleged Ashok Jena, a villager. Similarly, about 60 sluice gates in the seaside villages of Rajnagar and Mahakalapada blocks of the district are on the verge of collapse.
Contacted, Collector Debraj Senapati said the district administration has already started repair work on the damaged saline embankment. All the saline embankments will be repaired soon, he added.