Unsafe river embankments grave concern for villagers of Jajpur, Balasore

Jajpur/Balasore: With the arrival of Monsoon in the State, residents of 13 villages under Korei block in Jajpur and 50 villages in Balasore district are having sleepless nights. They are worried over the incomplete embankments along Baitarani and Jalaka rivers flowing close to their villages.

Remembering past experiences, villagers under Korei block are a worried lot over the unsafe embankments. Though there has been stone packing at some places, it reportedly failed to stop the flood water from entering the villages last year.

Moreover, a bridge was constructed in 2011 near Mathurapur so that villagers will remain connected to other places even during monsoon season, but the connecting road is yet to be completed. Local residents of the village have alleged that their pleas have fallen into deaf ears.

“We drew the attention of local politicians and district administration for expeditious work of the river embankment, but no step has been taken yet for the same. After a brief spell of rain, Mukundapur, Baliapal and Mathurupur villages get flooded with knee deep water. We are facing a lot of difficulties,” said Kalandi Charan Jena, a Mukundapur resident.

But the Jajpur Collector said the concerned department has been directed to expedite the work and embankments at several places have been strengthened. “Officials have been asked to expedite the work of the embankments which are half done,” said the Collector.

In Balasore, villagers under Basta block are unhappy over the stone packing and repair work of embankments near Jalaka river. They raised questions over the quality of work as the administration did sand packing instead of concrete work. Every year, 50 villages including Mathani, Kudia, Baharda under Sadar block get flooded.

“In 2008, the embankment was damaged near my village and residents of 20 mouzas made an effort and repaired it. However, again the embankment was damaged so we packed it with stones,” said Bijay Kumar Behera, a resident of Mathani.

Meanwhile, Water Resources Minister Ragunandan Das refuted the allegations of weak embankments and said there is no truth behind it.

“There is no need to panic over the issue. The department is ready to handle any kind of situation,” Das said.