Cuttack: Panic gripped riverside villages
located near Mahanadi on the eastern limits of Cuttack city
when a large patch of river embankment gave way during the
first showers of monsoon.
The breach in the embankment appeared yesterday as it
was made fragile due to unauthorised digging by a private
company which is laying water pipes here affecting the safety
of the embankment and that of the local residents.
"If this has happened to the embankment after only one
shower this season, we are afraid the situation would be
catastrophic when the river would be in spate in a while,"
said anguished villager Sukanta Panda.
Residents of Kanheipur, Bhadimul, Keshpur and
Bidyadharpur along with leper settlements of Gandhipally and
Nehrupally under Chauliaganj police station here are a worried
lot ever since the embankment was dug up for laying pipelines.
"Despite our protests before the district
administration and local legislator, the company engaged
continues to weaken the embankment," alleged another villager
from Bhadimul adding that the villagers have no other
alternative but to seek legal recourse for their safety.
Mahanadi Bachao Andolana (MBA), which is opposing
diversion of river water for industrial purposes in the state
has taken up cudgels on behalf of the villagers and has warned
that they would approach the Orissa High Court soon through a
PIL seeking the court`s intervention as the district
administration as well as the local representative have not
bothered about the concern of the villagers.
Meanwhile, Opposition Congress too has taken up the
issue alleging that the local administration and the people`s
representative are hand-in-glove with the company laying
pipelines along the embankment.
"We have no other option but to take the law onto our
hands," said Cuttack district Congress president Prakash
Behera after visiting the spot.
Local legislator Pravat Ranjan Biswal of BJD had gone
ahead with laying the foundation stone for strengthening the
embankment in April this year to the dismay of locals when the
officials of the private company joined the occasion as
guests, sources said.
"But more than two months after the foundation stone
laying ceremony, the tender is yet to be finalised while
instead of strengthening the embankment by the government, the
private company is continuing its activities here," alleges
local MBA leader Dillip Mallick.