Flood affected villagers forced to live on embankment

Bhadrak: As many as 28 families of Dasapari village under Padhani panchayat in Dhamnagar block here are leading lives in fragile and inhospitable condition after flood breached the embankment of river Baitarani almost four years ago.

Around 1000 members of these affected families are living on embankments as the homestead and agricultural fields were inundated in floodwater.

Though government assistance arrived to plug the breach, it proved little for the villagers. The inhabitants, living in shanties, fear for their lives with the arrival of rainy season.

Moreover, government’s Indira Awas Yojna to provide houses to poor families has not reached the beneficiaries.

"We are staying on the embankment as our houses have been washed away by heavy floods. We have not yet received any kind of housing assistance from the government", said a resident, Harihar Panda.

Voice of resentment has been brewing in the locality as no concrete step has been initiated by the authorities as of now.

The residents have warned to intensify agitation if district administration doesn’t take measures to sort out the issues.

As per reports, the state government had floated tenders for construction of a concrete embankment at an estimated cost of Rs 2 crore. Official sources say, the construction work could not inch forward due to dispute in tendering process and the matter is subjudice.

"Since the case is sub judice, there doesn`t seem any hope in the near future. Still, we will arrange temporary rehabilitations like previous years if needed", said Assistant Engineer of Dham Nagar Irrigation department Purna Chandra Sahoo.

Till the court clears the deck, the possibility of construction of concrete walls seems to be bleak. However, lakhs of rupees are spent every year in stopgap arrangements.