KENDRAPARA: Panic gripped coastal pockets of the district after high tidal waves entered seaside villages on Tuesday night causing extensive damage to agriculture land. Tidal waves breached the weak saline embankments at six strategic points inundating Nanjura, Pankapla, Tubi, Nipania, Kausapal, Gumara, Rajendranagr, Banipala and other seaside villages. Over 10,000 hectare (ha) of agriculture fields were submerged in seawater due to the tidal ingress. Similar ingress of seawater was reported in parts of Bagapatia and Tantiapala villages.
Ranjan Mandal of Tubi said many farmers had sown paddy seeds and transplanted saplings two months back. Their hopes of a good crop were dashed after seawater entered their fields due to the damaged saline embankment. The high tide also inundated 12 houses in Satabhaya village. Ajambar Mallick (57) had constructed a three-room thatched house four years back after his old hut was devoured by the sea. But on Tuesday night, his house was washed away by the tidal ingress. Four other villagers also faced a similar fate.
“My mud-walled house was razed to the ground. Three years back, the government rehabilitated 577 families of Satabhaya at Bagapatia. However, officials are yet to allot any land to me at the rehabilitation colony in Bagapatia due to which I am forced to reside in Satabhaya,” Ajambar complained. Satabhaya panchayat in Rajnagar block is one of the worst-hit by sea erosion. Once a cluster of seven villages, only a small portion of it remains now. Six villages have already disappeared into the sea.
Farmer leader and president of the district unit of Krushak Sabha Umesh Chandra Singh said seawater often enters coastal villages due to lack of maintenance of the saline embankments. “Many prawn farm owners have illegally damaging the embankments to allow flow of saline water into their gheris to breed shrimps but the authorities are yet to take any action against them,” he alleged. Contacted, an official of saline embankment division of Aul said the breaches will be mended soon.