KENDRAPARA: Seawater inundated several villages situated close to the shore in the district following high tide due to cyclone Titli on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
The seawater ingress sparked panic among villagers as around 10 houses were damaged in Satabhaya and Kanhupur with waves rising to a height of five feet. Though the fishermen moved their boats and other gears to safety, the high tide caused damage to 10 boats at the fishing jetty of Kharinashi, said Abhiram Mandal, a local fisherman.
Sources said a large number of prawn farm owners have illegally damaged the saline embankments to allow flow of seawater into their gheries to breed shrimps. The authorities, however, have turned a blind eye to the menace. Jagannath Rout of Rajnagar alleged that no action is being taken against the prawn mafia as they are hand-in-glove with Government officials and politicians.
Seawater often enters the seaside villages during high tide due to non-repair of the saline embankments. About 45 sluice gates and major portions of the saline embankments in the seaside villages of Rajnagar and Mahakalapada blocks are on the verge of collapse due to lack of maintenance, alleged former chairman of Rajnagar block Jagabandhu Nayak.
Contacted, Kendrapara Sub-Collector Sanjaya Mishra said, “The district administration has directed all Block Development Officers (BDOs) to submit report on the saline ingress in seaside villages.”