KENDRAPARA: Seaside villages of Rajnagar block in the district and Balikuda and Erasama blocks in Jagatsinghpur district were flooded by tidal water on Sunday causing extensive damage to agricultural land.
Damodar Biswal of Gobardhanpur village said, “A sluice gate in Gobardhanpur under Rajnagar block collapsed on Sunday night after being lashed by tidal waves. Around 700 acres of agriculture land in Gobardhapur, Olasahi, Mangarajpur, Balarampur and Naukena villages were inundated by seawater.”
The sluice gate, built two years back, caved in due to poor construction materials, Biswal alleged.
Tidal waves also breached saline embankments in Keraragada, Alatanga, Mahua and Jaganathpur villages under Rajnagar block on Sunday.
According to reports, over 2000 ha of agriculture land were damaged after being inundated by seawater. Similar ingress of seawater was reported in parts of Suniti, Baradanga, Talachua, Iswarapur and other villages under Rajnagar block as tidal waves got the better of weak saline embankments.
Sources said the breaches occurred due to lack of repair of the embankments.
Seawater also inundated large areas of seaside villages of Kansarbadadandua, Tubi and Batighar under Mahakalapada block of the district.
Arjun Mandal of Batighar said large tracts of paddy fields were damaged due to ingress of saline water. Shrimps of many prawn farms were also washed away.
Seawater often enters the seaside villages during high tide period due to non-repair of the saline embankments. About 60 sluice gates in the seaside villages in Rajnagar and Mahakalapada blocks are in a dilapidated condition, alleged Ganyaranjan Beuria of Rajnagar.
It is alleged that a large number of prawn farm owners have been damaging the embankments to allow the flow of saline water into their gheris for better breeding of shrimps. The district administration has turned a blind eye to the activity, alleged Ashok Jena of Rajnagar.
According to Ranjan Mandal, a villager of Talachua, Government officials and politicians are hands in glove with the prawn mafias for which the district authorities are reluctant to act against the offenders.
When contacted, Sub-Collector of Kendrapara Pratap Mishra said, “The district administration has already started repair work and all the damaged embankments will be repaired soon.”