KENDRAPARA: Panic gripped seaside villages of Mahakalapada block in the district on Wednesday night after tidal waves caused extensive damage to agricultural land due to breaches in saline embankments at Radia, Ekalapur, Arada and Baradanga gram panchayats.“Some portions of the weak saline embankments caved in due to high tide on new moon day on Wednesday. As a result, tidal ingress inundated around 4,000 acres of agriculture land in many villages,” said Ramesh Mandal of Baradanga.
Many farmers had sown paddy after ploughing their land two weeks back. However, all their hopes were dashed after saline water submerged their agriculture fields, he added.Seawater often enters the seaside villages during high tide due to non-repair of damaged saline embankments and sluice gates by the authorities concerned, said Ranjan Haldar of Arada.
Farmer leader and president of district unit of Krushak Sabha Umesh Chandra Singh alleged that many prawn farm owners have illegally damaged the embankments to allow saline water into their gheries in the seaside villages to breed shrimps. However, the district authorities have turned a blind eye to the menace and are yet to act against them, he said. “Several unscrupulous Government officials and politicians are hand in glove with the prawn mafia and are shielding them. Each year, farmers face crop loss due to flood, unseasonal rain and tidal ingress. But the district administration only pays lip service to the problems of farmers,” alleged Singh.
“The saline embankments in many villages are on the verge of collapse due to lack of maintenance. The weak embankments are not able to prevent the onslaught of seawater during high tide due to which villagers are spending sleepless nights,” said Jagannath Mandal of Baradanga.Contacted, an official of Saline Embankment Division of Aul said the damaged saline embankments will soon be repaired.
Farmers’ hopes dashed
Many farmers had sown paddy after ploughing their land two weeks back
All their hopes were dashed after saline water submerged their agriculture fields
Seawater often enters the seaside villages during high tide due to non-repair of damaged saline embankments and sluice gates by the authorities concerned