JAGATSINGHPUR: Villagers of Krishnanandpur panchayat are up in arms against the administration’s decision to auction sand quarry on Paika river bed despite soil erosion and threat to the siphon-cum-bridge. Sarpanch of Krishnanandpur Golak Narayan Jena said engineers of Mahanadi Chitrotpala Island Irrigation (MCII) division had declared the river bed as a danger zone and advised against lifting of sand from the area for protection of the siphon-cum- bridge. Besides, soil erosion has also damaged the playground of Krishnanandpur High School and nearby areas. If sand is lifting continues, it would aggravate the situation, he said.
An engineer of MCII, Manijanga division corroborated Jena’s statement saying, the administration was informed to declare the area as a danger zone in 2004. Despite the concerns, revenue officials awarded the sand quarry tender to a bidder on December 7 leading to panic among villagers.
Azad Mohammed, a villager, said frequent sand lifting from the river bed is posing threat to the bridge which may collapse if mining is not stopped soon as heavy vehicles and tractors ply on the potholed embankment. This would further deteriorate the embankment and villagers will have to bear the brunt. “We had sought the intervention of local administration and elected representatives but to no avail,” he added.
Tirtol tehsildar Sujata Patra said there is no threat to the siphon-cum-bridge as there is vacant land nearby. “Some people who were smuggling sand illegally are protesting auction of the quarry. We have already awarded the tender to a bidder last week,” she added.The MCII division had constructed the 497.6 metre siphon-cum-bridge over Paika river at Krishanananadapur in 2004 to provide irrigation facilities to non-irrigated land under Odisha Water Resources Consolidation Project.