Odisha: Woes galore after torrential rain in Rayagada

Report by Badal Tah; Rayagada: The last lash of rain due to low pressure even made the Deepavali pale at Rayagada. The torrential rain in Rayagada due to low pressure in Bay of Bengal since last four days has left its inhabitants with woes galore. Apart from broken houses, land slides, etc the heavy rain has intensely affected the farmers of the district. “A check dam which was constructed on ‘Khamapadar Nala’ near Khilapadar-Mariguda village under Padmapur block got washed away by latest cyclonic rain. This was irrigating above 1000 acres and was only hope and life line for scores of farmers of Khilapadar, Dakasikula, Sanyasipur as well as Mariguda village. With the destruction of this structure the standing crop of the above said area is left exposed and in the danger of colossal loss. We request the respective authorities to take cognisance of this pertinent issue and do the needful to restore/repair the structure at the earliest”, said Er. Rajiv Sahu, a farmer-entrepreneur of Padmapur block.

Though this check dam was constructed by PA-ITDA of Gunupur with around Rs.50 lakhs during 2014, the present PA-ITDA Sri Gorachanda Gomanga said that around Rs.70 lakhs was needed to revive it and lamented that it was just not possible to work on this due to paucity of funds available with the ITDA. The officer in the Minor Irrigation department said that though the check dam was supposed to be constructed by their department, the reason of investment by ITDA was best known to ITDA. He said that it was not possible on their part now to renovate it. This correspondent also contacted the Collector, PD-DRDA and PA-ITDA on this issue, but with no response. As govt officers are happy with “pass the blame” syndrome, the farmers are left on their providence and to fend for themselves.

Padmapur block is the rice bowl of Rayagada. The paddy is now at the verge of flowering or ripening stage. At this juncture, this issue has to be addressed by the administration in a war footing basis or otherwise the concerned authorities must be held accountable, lamented Rajiv. According to Rajiv, several hundred of acres of vegetable cultivation have gone waste due to water logging. “Though the department will have the damage assessment, it has its procedural hazard and the farmers are the ultimate sufferers”, said another organic farmer named Sri Gouranga Rout from Muniguda.

Similar case of irrigation issue is still pending in Kalyan Singhpur block where a dam over Kalyani river was washed away before two years in a flash flood. Moreover whatever little left out irrigation is irrigating the lands in Kalahandi district. Pani Dangar irrigation project in Gudari block has just been an assurance for over a decade. Silitiguda Irrigation project with its dilapidated canals is in a shabby though the present Irrigation Minister visited the site very recently. Of course assurances to have 35% irrigation made only to be violated as in case of Pani Dangar,Kalyani, Nagavali and others, expressed Sri Bijaya Mishra, yet another enterprising farmer of Munising village.

According to Dr Hrushikesh Jalli, Principal of Muniguda College, the main road connecting to Brahmapur and Bhawani Patna has been washed away in many places, especially near bridges & culverts. The administration can not wait till the damage assessment, estimation and then repair and renovation. By then it will be catastrophe as far as communication is concerned. The department should take interim repair activities with immediate effect to avoit a cut-off situation.

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