With the surging tidal waves getting the better of coastal embankments, sea water has made its ways into seaside villages inundating crop areas in Rajnagar Tehsil of Odisha’s Kendrapara district.
The tidal waves submerged the ill-maintained sluice gates on the embankment at strategic points leading the watery upsurge in Rajarajeswari village under Gupti gram panchayat.
Incidentally the saline embankment buffer was erected about 20 feet above from the sea coast.
Nearly 700 acre crop fields in the said village were inundated following the tidal ingress.
The surging water spilled over the sluice gates of the embankment.
Work has begun to repair the damaged sluice gates.
As a temporary measure, inflow of water has been plugged by putting in place sand-filled bags,” Executive Engineer, Saline Embankment Division, Jugal Kishore Tripathy said.
There is no further possibility of saline ingress from the particular points. Some other vulnerable breach-prone points have been identified while measures to repair the enfeebled points have been undertaken on a war-footing, he said.
The saline embankment division engineers have been asked to undertake repair and maintenance work of weak embankments and sluice gates so as to stop watery inundation in future, said Kendrapara Collector, Debraj Senapati.
“Hit by slipshod maintenance works, embankment built during the 70s to protect the coastal villages in Rajnagar is in a bad shape.
Funds sanctioned for refurbishment of the embankment after 1999 super cyclone and proceeding years had mostly been misused.
As a result, coastal villages are still exposed to the vagaries of nature”, spokesperson of local peasants’ outfit, Gayadhar Dhal said.
Maintenance of saline embankments is left much to be desired.
There has been generous flow of funds.
But the same is being largely siphoned off to compound people’s misery.
The sluice gates erected at strategic embankments points are left wide open and that led to unabated ingress of tidal waves into the human settlements, he added.