Vikash Sharma

Several parts of Odisha recently witnessed flood fury triggered by incessant rainfall. Though the situation is limping back to normalcy, water is yet to recede from acres of farmlands in many districts laying bare the extent of the devastation.

The situation is still grim in some of the districts of the state and this has sparked resentment among the farmers who alleged that no action is being taken to drain the water from their agricultural land.

Helpless farmers hit the streets in Kendrapara:

Demanding immediate drainage of water from their agricultural lands, scores of farmers of Kendrapara district recently blocked the Cuttack-Chandbali main road near Pattamundai-Mulabasant chhak.

The demonstrators from Gangapada alleged that the flood water receded a week back. However, knee-deep water still inundates farmlands in over 10 villages including Sobola, Dobandha and Gogua. They also alleged that the standing paddy crops in hundreds of acres of land have been damaged due to non-clearance or drainage from Pata river and no agricultural work is possible due to such inundation conditions.

Besides, allegations of extensive damage in 14 panchayats of Pattamundai block due to floods in Brahmani river have come to the fore.

“Be it the Minister, the local MLA or others, nobody is listening to our grievances. There is water and our crops have got destroyed. We are not getting paddy and we have no other option than to die,” said a farmer.

Later, the road blockade was lifted after Tehsildar reached the spot and assured the agitators to initiate measures to drain the water out.

Pattamundai Tehsildar Dilip Sethi said, “We held a discussion with the assistant engineer and it was decided to start draining the water out from tomorrow (August 30). The locals have agreed to clear the blockade.”

Flood and subsequent suffering in Puri:

Similarly, hectares of land remain inundated due to poor disposal of water in Kanas area of Puri district. Be it paddy or other vegetable plantations, several farmlands continue to remain submerged. There is no possibility that the farmers can expect a harvest under such circumstances.

Over 7,000 hectares of paddy and non-paddy farmlands in 18 panchayats under Nimapada agriculture district have been affected due to floods in Dhanua and Kusabhadra.

Hemant Swain, a farmer said, “We are small farmers and are now waiting for the water to recede. The only hope is government assistance at this point.”

The demand for immediate disbursal of compensation amount by the government along with distribution of seeds for Rabi crops free of cost is gaining momentum.

Nimapara agriculture officer Sarat Parida said, “As per the SRC guidelines, survey and damage assessment will be conducted jointly by field staff, tehsil and others.”

Flood situation in Cuttack and Balasore:

Athagarh block in Cuttack district has been worst affected due to flood fury in Mahanadi. Crops in Rajnagar, Tigiria and other areas have been damaged and it has now compounded the miseries of the farmers here. The situation is also no different in Bhograi block in Balasore district.

The floodwater from river Subarnarekha is yet to recede from several agricultural lands in over 50 villages in 5 panchayats.

“It is now almost 10-15 days that nearly 150 households are suffering as water is yet to recede from the area. There is no proper road and we have got nothing to eat and other materials,” said Sasmita Sethi in distress.