Unauthorised constructions on banks of rivers pose flooding threat in Odisha

However, encroachment and garbage dumping have severely affected their water-carrying capacity.
Unauthorised construction on the bank of the Sarali river
Unauthorised construction on the bank of the Sarali river Photo | Express

BARIPADA: Discontentment is growing among residents of Baripada municipality due to the increased risk of artificial flooding caused by unauthorised constructions, slums, and human settlements on the banks of the Sarali, Jarali, and Sukjoda rivers.

These have turned the once free-flowing rivers into small drains, impeding water drainage and threatening to inundate over eight wards within the municipality.

Concerned citizens have appealed to the municipality and district administration to intervene and address the issue of unauthorised constructions. They said that the encroachments have led to water stagnation and potential flooding during the rainy season.

Local residents claim that the rivers, now reduced to small drains, fail to manage the water flow, endangering human settlements. The Madhuban Development Committee, a local social organisation, has demanded the restoration of the three rivers and the removal of unauthorised structures on their banks.

Residents Bikramkeshari Jena and Subodh Kumar Polei from Madhuban cited that the Jarali, Sarali, and Sukjoda rivers, which flow from the eastern side of the town, were once relied upon for daily use. However, encroachment and garbage dumping have severely affected their water-carrying capacity.

Responding to the complaints, Baripada municipality issued a letter to sub-collector Kishore Chandra Naik and the Minor Irrigation Department, requesting an inquiry into the matter.

Municipality chairperson Krushnananda Mohanty said that several unauthorised houses are under construction and the matter has been reported to the authorities.

Naik assured that a spot inquiry would be conducted and appropriate action taken. Mohanty has also asked the tehsildar to inquire into the matter.

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