CUTTACK: Panic gripped residents of Mauda gram panchayat in Mahanga block after a major portion of Pattamundai main canal embankment collapsed near Tribeniswar temple on Sunday.
Locals first noticed cracks on the bitumen topped embankment. Later, the cracks started getting wider with erosion of the base resulting in formation of a 10 ft long breach. On being informed, officials of Jagatpur Irrigation (North) Division rushed to the spot and initiated steps for repair of the breach.
As the Water Resources department stopped release of water following the incident, transplantation process has been affected in areas of Cuttack, Jajpur and Kendrapara districts.
Pattamundai main canal, considered to be an important source of irrigation for farmers of the three districts, supplies water to thousands of hectare of agriculture land through its more than 100 branches.
Considering its importance and vulnerable condition, the 80-km long canal was renovated from Jagatpur to Alava in Pattamundai with financial assistance from Asian Development Bank (ADB) last year. However, the canal embankment has been breaching frequently, leading to discontent among farmers.
Earlier, the canal embankment had breached near Gopinathpur Sashan Sahi, Tribeniswar, Rameswar and Kalashree Gopalpur, damaging vast tracts of agriculture land in Salepur and Mahanga blocks.
Farmers attributed the cause of frequent breaching of the embankment to substandard repair and renovation work besides lack of departmental inspection and supervision. “Though repair has been being carried out, the embankment is failing to withstand water pressure due to poor quality work,” said former panchayat samiti member Rama Chandra Behera. Farmers demanded immediate repair of the breach and release of water to facilitate the transplanting process.