Expert team to visit Puri; fix erosion at Swarga Dwar

Bhubaneswar/Puri: A team of technical experts will soon visit Puri to take stock of the situation arising out of surging sea waves threatening to wash away the road near Swarga Dwar, the Hindu cremation ground in the pilgrim town.

Briefing media persons after a high level review meeting of the Puri-Konark Development Authority (PKDA) presided over by chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi at the State Secretariat this afternoon, Puri collector Arvind Agrawal said a team of technical experts of the Water Resources department will visit Puri very soon and take necessary steps to check the erosion of the shoreline at Swarga Dwara.

“The team will try to stop the ingress of sea water so that it does not enter into the town,” Agarwal said.

Puri MLA Maheswar Mohanty has made a case for iron sheet piling to stop sea waves from encroaching into land.

“We are trying to block the sea water by putting up iron sheet piling along the shoreline near Swarga Dwara. Though the work will take some time, we are taking steps in this regard,” Mohanty told the media persons in Puri today.

Even as denizens of Puri town are living in dread after surging sea waves lashed the shore threatening Swarga Dwara, saline water ingress from the Chilika lake has inundated hundreds of acres of paddy crops in 15 villages in the periphery of Asia’s largest brackish water lake.

Among the villages where paddy crops have been inundated by saline water are Sipakuda, Banamalipur and Alupatana villages in Brahmagiri block.

The villagers have alleged that a ring embankment built long time back has weakened due to poor maintenance work. Due to this, a portion of the embankment was swept away in the devastating Cyclone Phailin in October, 2013. As a result, saline water from the lake entered the villages and swept away houses. Since then, the district administration has not taken any steps to repair the breached portion of the embankment, they alleged.

“The district administration is aware of the plight of the villagers and it will take a decision for repair of the breached embankment very soon,” said Puri sub collector.