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Illegal prawn farms hinder release of rainwater from Odisha's agriculture fields

Following the incessant showers, thousands of hectares of crop land situated at the tail end of the channel distributaries, have been submerged in the two blocks.

Published: 07th December 2021 10:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th December 2021 01:30 PM   |  A+A-

Villagers digging a prawn farm enclosure to make way for rainwater

Villagers digging a prawn farm enclosure to make way for rainwater (Photo | Express)

By Express News Service

JAGATSINGHPUR: Unauthorised prawn gheris have emerged as a hindrance to the release of stagnant water from agriculture fields in Erasama and Balikuda blocks, thereby posing threat to paddy and vegetable crops that survived the recent heavy rains.

Following the incessant showers, thousands of hectares of cropland situated at the tail end of the channel distributaries, have been submerged in the two blocks. Farmers alleged that there is no way to clear the rainwater from the fields as illegally-built prawn farms have blocked the passage.

“Many influential persons have illegally erected prawn enclosures at many places, thereby blocking the passage of rainwater. This has resulted in waterlogging in many villages including agriculture fields,” alleged a farmer of Erasama.

Former MLA and Congress leader Lalatendu Mohapatra claimed that despite direction from the government, local tehsildars have failed to demolish the illegal prawn gheris. Urging the administration to evict the unauthorised farms immediately, Mohapatra said if no step is taken in this regard soon, thousands of farmers will suffer crop loss due to stagnant water in fields.

Sources said nearly 2,500 hectares of forest and revenue land has been encroached on by prawn farm owners in the district. Sub-Collector Dharmendra Mallick admitted that unauthorised prawn farms are obstructing the release of rainwater from paddy fields. The administration has started eviction of prawn gheries in Balikuda and Erasama, he added. On Sunday, Erasama received 220 mm rainfall. Similarly, Balikuda received 145 mm rain.



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