JAGATSINGHPUR: Farmers in Jagatsinghpur district are a distressed lot as rainwater has remained stagnant on paddy fields in the absence of a drainage facility to Hansua river. Six days after the deluge, 4-5 ft rainwater is yet to recede from 47,000 ha of paddy fields across many blocks rotting saplings.
Low-pressure rains battered the district recently affecting over 63,000 hectare (ha) of paddy crops in the coastal district. The waterlogging situation post rains aggravated as drains in many places were blocked due to encroachment and illegal bamboo fish traps along rivers prevented the release of floodwater. Though low lying areas in Raghunathpur, Jagatsinghpur, Tirtol and Erasama blocks have been affected, paddy crops in Biridi, Kujang and Balikuda are bearing the impact of standing water in the fields.
As of Sunday last, the district had recorded total 450 mm rainfall in three days. One Subal Swain from Sanpur village said, “I had transplanted paddy seedlings on 4 acres of land and the growth was encouraging but after the rains, the crops are damaged completely as the roots are rotting. I am now concerned about my debts.”
Alleging that no steps have been taken for release of rainwater, farmer leader Bansidhar Patnaik demanded desilting of Hansua river downstream, eviction of encroachers and maintenance of drainage system. While district agriculture officer Rajkishore Das informed that assessment of crop damage will begin within a day or two, executive engineer of Drainage Division Harekrushna Behera said the release of 450 mm rainwater through Hansua will take time and steps will soon be taken for the river’s desiltation.