JAGATSINGHPUR: Villagers of the seaside areas in Erasama block have been spending sleepless nights for the past two days with the seawater entering up to 450 metres from the shore inundating paddy fields and residential areas.
Kalabedi, Siali, Padmapur, Gadbishnupur, Janakadeipur, Nardia and Goda villages under the block have been worst affected. The tidal wave washed away even the areas with natural forest cover. The watchtower, constructed a decade ago by the Tourism department, too is under threat with its base caving in due to soil erosion.
Despite the frequency and magnitude of sea erosion increasing in recent years, locals allege no steps have been taken by the district administration to counter the impending danger.
“Earlier, it was decided that a saline embankment would be constructed by packing stones along the coast and covered with iron nets for protection. Nothing has been done till now,” lamented Surjyakant Mandal and Sushil Nayak of Siali village.
Keshab Chandra Patra, Padampur sarpanch and Gitanjali Jena, samiti member, highlighted the plight of the villagers who have been living in constant fear due to the current low-pressure situation in the Bay of Bengal making the sea rough.
“The watchtower will collapse if steps are not taken immediately to protect it. We have demanded government intervention for construction of a sea wall and groynes around the beach,” added Patra.
Contacted, Rajesh Mohanty, executive engineer, Mahanadi South Division, Cuttack said there is no provision for the construction of a permanent saline embankment due to restriction on any construction within 500 metres of the seashore as per CRZ norms. “We have pressed our staff to carry out sand packing to curb sea erosion for the time being,” added Mohanty.
Last year, seawater had entered human habitation through four breaches on the saline embankment near Kalabedi, threatening as many as 15 villages under Erasama block.