KENDRAPARA: With water sources contaminated due to floods, drinking water has become a concern for people of Kendrapara district. Supply of drinking water has been hit at many places and tubewells are pumping out muddy water.
Villagers said they are forced to consume contaminated water as there is no other alternative. They have urged the Water Resources department officials to immediately provide them drinking water to curb outbreak of water-related diseases. “Our village is still under four feet water and areas close to tube wells and standposts are slushy. We have been boiling pond water and consuming it as there is no other alternative. If arrangement is not made to provide drinking water, there will be epidemic outbreak,” said Srikant Sahoo of Eradanga village under Aul block. Villagers are using boats to travel to areas that were less affected by floods to bring water.
No fodder, sheds for cattle
Livestock farmers in Kendrapara are a worried lot. Flood has not just damaged their houses, but also washed away cowsheds and cattle fodder. Flood water from Brahmani, Baitarani, Budha, Kani and Kharosotra rivers has started receding in Kendrapara district but there is no fodder for cattle as grazing fields are still under water.
Following heavy rain, farmers had kept their cattle on the roads and river embankments to save the animals from drowning and most of them are starving. “The farmlands where the cattle grazed were destroyed and the feed they had stored was also spoilt by the flood water,” said Umesh Das, a farmer of Badapada village under Pattamundei block. Das’ cattle have been starving for the last five days due to non-availability of fodder. Like Das, livestock farmers are worried over the acute crisis of green fodder coupled with high prices of hay in flood-hit villages.
Flooding in riverside villages of Rajnagar, Aul, Pattamundai and Rajkanika blocks around Bhitarkanika National Park in the district has prompted a warning about crocodiles with several of the reptiles spotted in swollen waterways. As per reports, many crocodiles have been swept into marooned villages by floodwater. Residents have reported seeing more saltwater crocodiles than usual as the reptiles strayed into rivers from water bodies of Bhitarkanika in the flood.
Bhitarkanika is home to more than 1,700 saltwater crocodiles. Saltwater crocodiles have been spotted in the marooned villages of Chandanapur, Rahapur, Ostia, Nagad, Bandhapatana, Naladia and Srirampur after the reptiles strayed into Brahmani, Kharasrota and Kani rivers from the water bodies of the national park. Last year, the Forest department had barricaded around 34 ghats in the riverside villages near the national park to prevent the crocodiles from entering the bathing areas in the rivers. But the flood has washed away many barricades.