CHIKILI (BARGARH): Located on the fringes of Hirakud Dam Reservoir (HDR), Chikili village under Bhainatara gram panchayat is located about 6 km from the block headquarters of Ambabhona in Bargarh district. The village lies on the submerged area of HDR and a slight rise in the water level either due to heavy rain upstream, which in turn raises the water level in the HDR, or rise in the storage of water in the HDR leads to the backwater inundating the region.
Although effort was made to relocate them, the villagers, who had been displaced by Hirakud Multi-Purpose Project, refused to leave the place as they are yet to receive compensation even as development has eluded the village. The village, having a population of less than 1,000, has just a primary school and depends on Chhattisgarh for all its basic needs, including medical requirements.
Interestingly, the villagers frequently facing the problem of flood is not new. In fact, flooding, with backwater of HDR, has been a regular affair. The villagers, who eke out their living either through fishing or farming, have no complaints about it. The backwaters have been the lifeline of the village and the floodwater, after remaining stagnant for a couple of days, recedes leaving behind silt and fertile soil which helps the villagers in farming, besides retaining the moisture in the soil.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that the flood has become a boon for the villagers because of fertile soil left behind by the backwaters. The farmers cultivate paddy, pulses and oil seeds all of which they sell it in Chhattisgarh. Adding to their bounty is the relief distributed by the district administration, which they lap it up happily. But if the villagers are to be believed, there has been no flood in the village since 2014 monsoon and they attribute it to truant monsoon and dip in water level in the HDR.
They also admit that water has receded and they have to trudge about half-a-kilometre to fetch water.Not unduly worried about the drop in flow of water in the Mahanadi, the villagers said a normal monsoon will bring the situation back to normal. However, they do not deny the fact that they are feeling the pangs of reduced water level in HDR.
The villagers eke out their living either through fishing or farming.
The backwaters have been the lifeline of the village.
Floodwater, after remaining stagnant for a couple of days, recedes leaving behind silt and fertile soil which helps the villagers in farming