Kendrapara, June 5 (LocalWire): The sea that provided the villagers of Satabhaya their livelihood was slowly snatching it all away. The government rehabilitated around 130 families from this sea-side village to Bagapatia colony, 12 kilometres away last year. But the villagers’ joy was short-lived
Many have since returned to their ancestral village as there is no means of livelihood in the colony, they allege.
‘We earn by catching fish and crabs in the creeks of Satabhaya.
We also collect honey from the nearby forest. Our cattle graze on the vast grounds here.
In agapatia rehabilitation colony, authorities provided us only ten decimal low land and two lakh rupees.
Most of the villagers spent the money to fill up the earth to make the land suitable for homestead.
officials have not provided us any agricultural land and we have been forced to return to our forefather’s village in Satabhaya to eke out a living,’ said Giridhari Dalei.
‘Not much is left of our village. Many families have left and settled in Bagapatia.
But I have no option to stay there as I have ten cows.
It is not possible for me to build a cowshed at Bagapatia as the government provided me only ten decimals of land.
Last month, I repaired my thatched house here in Satabhaya and started selling milk for a living,’ said Bikram Das.
Dyurodhan Mallick from the village also got a house at the rehabilitation colony last year.
But now he along with his wife have returned to their former village.
‘I have three sons and it is not possible for us to live in a small house at Bagapatia.
Six months back, I returned to my forefather’s land. We catch fish and crabs in the creeks.
Our sons come to meet us here. We are happy here although the sea is crawling menacingly towards our village,’ said Mallick.
Like Bikram, Giridhari and Dyurodhan, around 130 families who got houses at the rehabilitation colony have returned to Satabhaya.
‘The sea has already encroached the last tube-well in the sea-erosion hit village and as a result we are experiencing severe shortage of drinking water,’ said Bijay Lenka of Satabhaya.
‘We have no water to drink at all. We trek for one kilometre to the nearby village of Barahapur to collect water from two tube-wells,’ added Lenka.
For these residents of Satabhaya, life is a big struggle. Sea water enters the village during high tide and sanitation remains an issue in the absence of any toilet facility.
‘The village also has no electricity. But many are determined not to leave Satabhaya as the creeks, forest, fish ponds , shrimp farms and agricultural lands provide them their livelihoods,’ said Nigamananda Rout the former sarpanch of Satabhaya gram panchayat.
Large tracts of Satabhaya have been wiped out by the rising sea levels for which last year the government rehabilitated 571 families of Satabhaya at the rehabilitation colony at Bagapatia 12 kilometers from the sea.
‘The government has no plans to start any developmental works in Satabhaya,’ said Sanjay Mishra the sub- Collector of Kendrapada.