Panic gripped the sea-side villagers as tidal ingress on Thursday and Friday damaged standing paddy crops in thousands of acres in Remuna, Sadar, Baliapal and Bhogarai blocks of Balasore district.
As per reports, over 2,000 hectares of agriculture land have been submerged by tidal waves which spilled over the saline embankment buffer erected about 20 feet above the coast.
Sources said people of over 50 villages in the four blocks have been affected as their crops have been destroyed. The tidal waves that entered Remuna block through the mouth of river Kantiachira and Baliapal block through river Hanskara inundated crop fields in Talapada, Inchudi, Kalamatiapahi, Thakurpahi, Jambhirai, Panchupalli, Bolang, Gobindapur, Teluni, Chaulati, Kunduli, Sankhua, Indipada, Mahapada, Shivapura and Bhareswar villages.
Locals alleged that even as Talapada panchayat was facing frequent ingress of tidal waves through the coast canal, the officials have not initiated any permanent measure to protect the people from constant threat of the sea.
Zilla Parishad member from Baliapal Maheswar Jena said, “The farmers were scared of losing their crop as the salt water had damaged the paddy plants. Though the locals had tried to block the entry of seawater by dumping sand bags, it did not prove to be of much help.”
An administrative officer said block officials and personnel of both irrigation and drainage divisions had been asked to take stock of the situation. “Construction of surge protection barriers along the east coast has become imperative in view of frequent inroad of seawater,” the officer added.