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Rashmi Rekha Das

Floods in Mahanadi River system have left thousands of families homeless. Even though floodwater has receded, there is no end to their suffering. On the other hand, flood in tributaries of Mahanadi River has opened gates of misery for millions of people at Banki, Athagarh, Konark and Paradip. Floods have literally left them in a state of despair as their homes are still marooned.  

Thinking of reconstructing their lives post-flood has become a herculean task for these people.

Besides, the flood has ruined crops raised on hectares of land by farmers. Vegetables grown in the farmland at Athagarh and Tigiria have been severely damaged due to the flood. Many farmers who have grown seasonal vegetables and paddy after taking loans have incurred huge losses due to the flood. They had availed loans for cultivation from cooperative societies and banks. After incurring losses, they are staring at uncertainty.

Farmers who had cultivated seasonal vegetables like tomatoes, snakebeans, okra, ridge gourd, cucumber, capsicum, beans, chillies, brinjal and onion are spending sleepless nights as floodwater is yet to recede from their farmlands. Brinjal farmers at Athagarh have raised brinjals on acres of land incurred heavy loss.  

Meanwhile, farmers have requested the state government to waive off farm loans. Else, they have no other option but to commit suicide. 

Premananda Biswal,  a farmer, said, “For last 11 days, paddy crops have been submerged by floodwater. I have no idea how to repay the loan taken for paddy cultivation. I would urge the government to waive off the loan. Else, farmers like me would have to take an extreme step”.

Even though floodwater has receded at Kujang, Tirtol and Manijanga in Jagatsinghpur district and flood victims have returned to their homes, but they are yet to get an electricity connection for which they have to go to market to recharge their mobile phones.  

A flood victim of Harirajpur said, “It is not wise to take shelter in others’ house for so many days. Though they cannot say but we can feel they are not comfortable with us. So, I am readying my place to come back.” 

Utkalmani Gopabandhu Das’ statue erected at Dabhara village under Gop block is still marooned by flood by Dhanua river. Gopabandhu used to spend days here to help flood victims of neighbouring villages.  More than 40,000 people of seven panchayats at Nimapara and Gop blocks have been deeply affected by flood. Lack of drinking water at these areas has added flood victims’ woes. Though the state government is distributing drinking water to the affected, it is not enough for them, said sources.

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