JAGATSINGHPUR: As heavy rains continued to batter Odisha for the second consecutive day, Jagatsinghpur administration carried out rescue operations and shifted 1,878 people to safer places in Kujang, Balikuda and Erasama blocks on Monday, September 13, 2021.
The coastal district has faced the problem of artificial flood as rainwater could not be drained due to poor drainage. Encroachments and illegal bamboo fish traps along rivers are believed to have aggravated the waterlogging. Sources said, around 52,000 hectare farmlands were affected while nearly 1,500 kutcha houses were damaged. Uprooting hundreds of trees and electric poles in different villages led to power disruption since Sunday.
Villages like Deuligrameswer, Badabag, Marichapada, Panisalia, Chatra, Jayabada, Belpohkari and other areas of Jagatsinghpur municipality were particularly affected due to obstructions in drainage.
Former councillor of the civic body Susant Swain alleged that nearly 35 families in wards no 1, 8, 16, and 17 are stranded for two days as their houses are waterlogged and no effort has been taken by the municipality to drain water from the areas.
The situation was bad in coastal blocks like Kujang, Erasama and Balikuda where illegal erection of bamboo embankments for catching fishes along rivers and creeks blocked water flow. Rainwater entered around 5,000 houses and damaged belongings of families. No loss of lives or property damage was however reported. Scenes of waterlogging were also witnessed at Machhagaon Primary Health Centre in Balikuda which forced authorities to relocate the vaccination centre to the Machhagaon Primary School. Kujang Police Station along with residential colonies was also flooded.
Executive engineer of Mahanadi South Irrigation Division, Cuttack Rajesh Mohanty admitted that embankments set up for catching fish or “Addi Bandh” posed as major obstructions to release rainwater in Hansua and other water bodies. The department has also opened all sluice gates at Bagadi, Guneimunha, Nagari, Japa, Pachaeri to release the rainwater and steps are being taken to demolish these embankments, he said.
As per data available, Balikuda block has recorded highest 440 mm rainfall, Biridi 258 mm, Raghunathpur 323 mm, Naugaon 380 mm, Tirtol 245mm, Kujang 265mm, Erasama 273mm and Jagatsinghpur block 264mm. Contacted, Collector Sangram Keshari Mohapatra informed that the administration has started the evacuation process. Around 1,878 people have been shifted and BDOs are directed to provide dry ration and cooked food to affected families, he added.