Kendrapara, July 23 (LocalWire): Saline water entered the seaside villages in Mahakalapada block of Kendrapara district last night and inundated large tracts of agricultural land through damaged sluice gates, causing extensive damage to paddy saplings.
‘Over 3000 acres of agriculture lands in Gokhakhati, Sathiabati, Barakanda, Chedakani, Gopalapur, Akhadasahi and other villages filled with saline water damahging the kharif paddy saplings,’ said Satrughan Dalei of Gopalpur village.
Seawater often enters the seaside villages during high tide due to lack of maintenance of saline embankments and sub-standard sluice gates by the authorities.
Around 60 sluice gates in the seaside villages of Rajnagar and Mahakalapada blocks are on the verge of collapse. But the authorities are yet to repair them, alleged Bijaya Shukla, the former sarpanch of Ramanagar.
Several prawn farm owners damaged the saline embankments to allow the flow of sea water into prawn farms to help in breeding shrimps but the authorities are not taking any actions against them since many government officials and politicians are hand-in-glove with the prawn mafias and are thus, shielding them,’ said Rabindra Sahoo of Barakanda village.
‘I sowed paddy saplings over my three acres of land but saline water damaged all the saplings. It is high time the government repairs the sluice gates and take action against the people who damage those to catch fish and baby prawns,’ said Girish Mandal of Barakanda.
‘Sub-standard work is another reason for the collapse of sluice gates. The authorities should take action against the officials who are responsible for the poor construction,’ said Arabinda Jena of Barakanda.
‘The weak saline embankments and sluice gates cannot prevent the onslaught of the water during high tide and seaside villagers are spending sleepless nights,’ said Narayan Haldar, the former sarpanch of Kharinashi gram panchayat.
Purna Chandra Rath, the executive engineer (Saline) division, Kendrapara said, ‘Some fishermen illegally damaged the sluice gate to catch fish. We will repair it soon.’