Bhubaneswar: With the onset of monsoon in Odisha, people residing in villages under Banki Sub-division in Cuttack district and Gunupur in Rayagada district are having sleepless nights. They are a worried lot now as embankments have become weak and are without stone packing at many places.

The embankment along Mahanadi river from Baideswara to Bhagipur and Botalama to Khandiabandha in Banki is in a precarious condition. When the river gets flooded with water, there are breaches in the embankment, subsequently leading to water-logging in the villages.

The affected villagers have blamed the government apathy and poor quality of work carried out by contractors for the weak embankments. "River embankments are in a very poor condition. This apart, contractors are working as per their wish. No one from the local administration has visited the place. The administrative officials should to visit the spot immediately and take concrete steps," demanded Baikuntha Behera, a resident of Kurumachaini.

"Embankments are very poor and ever year our village gets flooded. The stone packing is also of poor quality," alleged Shailendra Rout, a resident of Mukundapur.

Refuting the charges, Assistant Engineer of Irrigation department, Banki, Shrimad Kumar Tripathy said, "Embankments have been strengthened. However, the work at Kurumi is yet to be completed as quality stones were not available. This year we will expedite the work and try to finish it on time."

Similar condition can be seen at Limapadar and Khalagumuda villages of Rayagada district. Embankment along Bansadhara river is in a dangerous condition, as such villagers of Limapadar, Gumuda and Derigaon are awaiting desperate measures by the administration.

"Due to soil erosion on the embankment the river water has come closer to the village. The Assembly Estimate Committee visited the place and assured construction of embankment, but nothing has been done yet. If the government does not resolve the issue, we will stage agitation," said Subas Panda, a resident of Limapadar.

"Though the issue persists, the administration has turned a deaf ear. We demand immediate construction of embankment," said Nrusingha Padhi, a farmer.

When contacted, Assistant Engineer of Gunupur Water Resources department, Shraharee said, "Rs 94.25 crore has been sanctioned for the embankment. Once the funds are released, the work will begin. For temporary purposes we have kept sand packets ready and opened the flood control room."

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