Bhadrak villagers threaten to boycott polls unless steps taken to stall Baitarani erosion

Bhadrak: Once considered lifeline for scores of villagers of Kulhi and Kulhibindha under Chandbali block, Baitarani River today has turned a nightmare for the same people putting their life at stake and threatening their existence.

Over the years, the riverbank erosion has made life severely uncertain for the 300 families living along the banks.

As per reports, many families have been displaced in the last few years, and the farmlands alongside the banks too were destroyed by the erosion, alleged locals.

The villagers have also alleged that the riverbanks have started to erode rapidly and the extent of erosion seems to be getting worse every year.

While some have had to move their land, others are leading sleepless nights with apprehensions that the river water flowing close to their doorsteps might even damage their house during the night.

Not once or twice, the locals have knocked the doors of the district administration numerous times demanding measures against erosion by the river, but they have been returned every time with assurances only from the administration.

People of both these villages under the jurisdiction of Chandbali Irrigation Department have complained to resolve the issue by stone packing and the departmental heads also conducted inspections quite a few times, but nothing has been done so far.

With the administration reportedly turning a deaf ear to the serious issue, the villagers have decided to boycott the upcoming elections as a mark of protest against the lackadaisical attitude of the government.

The erosion has also left a few villages isolated as the roads connecting those with nearby regions have also been reportedly damaged.

However, Assistant Engineer, Chandbali Water Resources department stated that the department is awaiting the approval of NABARD and work for the same will start as soon as NABARD gives a go ahead. “We have prepared a project at an estimation of Rs 6.02 crore and the proposal has been sent to NABARD. We will start the project after getting approval from NABARD,” Bharat Jani, Assistant Engineer said.