Titli-affected Ganjam villages left high and dry

Even after a week of Titli and the floods hitting Ganjam, people in many parts of the district are awaiting relief.

Published: 17th October 2018 07:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th October 2018 07:52 AM   |  A+A-

A pregnant woman of Balipadar village in Soroda block being carried to a health centre in Janani stretcher | Express

Express News Service

BERHAMPUR: Even after a week of Titli and the floods hitting Ganjam, people in many parts of the district are awaiting relief. The twin calamities not only damaged properties but hit farmers below the belt. In several parts of the district, drinking water is still a crisis and debris lay scattered everywhere. So far, locals alleged, no survey has been conducted by government officials to ascertain the exact loss of property. Sibaram Panda of Ward 9 under Bhanjanagar NAC alleged that during floods, water entered houses of people in the Ward and damaged properties. However, no official has yet visited the Ward to inquire into the losses.  

READ | Cyclone Titli aftermath: Odisha's Ganjam villages continue to suffer

With roads damaged, vehicular traffic in several areas has not been restored. Instead of waiting for the officials to repair the roads, villagers have decided to take up the work.   

Farming community hit
Dusasan Karji of Gaida village under Patrapur block said all the 40 families of the village that is located atop a hill practised shift cultivation. The rainwater washed away all the crops and also killed over 100 cattle and livestock. With their houses damaged, villagers have now taken shelter in nearby villages. Gaida has no approach road and one has to walk for 20 km to reach  the main road at Tadaka Sahi, where relief materials are being distributed. Less than 10 families have managed to collect relief. No official has yet visited the village. 

There are similar allegations from people of villages under Sorada, Purusottampur, Chatrapur, Digapahandi and Rangeilunda.A team of horticulture officials visited the damaged agricultural fields in Chikiti block on Tuesday. At Bhaligada village, they went round the farm of 70-year-old M Jagga Rao who had planted banana plants on one and a half acres of land last year. While the Horticulture wing of Agriculture department had supplied banana saplings to him at subsidised rates, the farmer had invested `2.5 lakh more in the plantation. He had taken loan from various sources for the  purpose. Titli and subsequent floods destroyed his plantation entirely.

According to reports, thousands of hectares of land brought under paddy, sugarcane and vegetable crops in various blocks of the district have been sandcast. Betel leaf vines worth more than `50 lakh have been destroyed by the cyclone at Kotharsing, Randha, Golonthara,  anchama villages under Rangeilunda block. Farmers A Tarini Reddy, Raghunath Behera, S  Soura and J Mohan Reddy of the block alleged that despite repeated appeals, no government  official has visited them yet. Similarly, mushroom and flower crops have been damaged to a large extent.

Debris yet to be cleared
With government agencies focusing on Gajapati - the worst affected district - no steps are being taken to remove debris left by both the cyclone and flood in many parts of Ganjam. As sanitation workers of Ganjam have been sent to Gajapati, the local municipality is doing little to clear carcasses of domestic animals here. Locals are fearing outbreak of epidemic if the carcasses are not cleared from water bodies at the earliest. So far, cases of cold, fever and gastroenteritis have been reported in Ganjam. Locals said flood water receded but has left behind heaps of garbage and plastic waste in many places. 

Drinking water scarcity
To add to woes of people, drinking water has become scarce in rural parts of the district. They are facing drinking water crisis as most of the sources including wells and river bodies contaminated. In many low lying areas, flood water inundated stand posts and tubewells.

Dead reptiles, insects, e-waste and garbage can be seen floating in ponds and nullahs, which were drinking water sources for many people.Ganjam Chief District Medical Officer Sadananda Mishra said health workers are creating awareness among people about purifying drinking water, maintaining hygiene in their localities to prevent mosquito breeding, drinking boiled water and washing hand before eating. 

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