BALASORE: “Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink.” This quote sums up the situation in many flooded villages of Bhograi and Baliapal blocks situated near Subarnarekha river. Stranded in their homes since the last five days, the villagers are reeling under acute shortage of drinking water.
Kalicharan Sahu of Kumbhirgadi panchayat in Bhograi is forced to use contaminated floodwater to prepare food as all the tube-wells in the locality have been submerged. “With our only source of drinking water flooded, we are forced to use contaminated water to cook food since the last four days. In absence of safe water, many villagers are surviving on dry food,” he said.
Bhusandeswar, Kulha, Dahamunda, Raghu Chowk, Kusuda, Aruaburti, Gabgaon, Chirkula, Putina and Manunagar villages under Kumbhirgadi panchayat and Pantai, Kulhachada, Badatalapada and Talapada in Jamkunda under Baliapal have been marooned due to the floods. While Kumbhirgadi has a population of 750, as many as 1,600 people reside in Bhusandeswar.
Another villager of Kumbhirgadi Jhardeswar Sahoo said apart from the water woes, local business has taken a hit due to the floods. Many shops have been damaged after entry of floodwater. While villagers are unable to get their daily rations and needs, the administration is yet to provide them any relief.
ASHA worker Sanjukta Sahoo alleged that Kumbhirgadi sarpanch is neglecting their village as villagers had not voted for him in the last panchayat polls. “The sarpanch is not doing his duty as a people’s representative. Our village lacks proper road and drinking water facility due to the sarpanch’s apathy. With the sarpanch nowhere to be seen, local villagers are draining out the floodwater by using pumps and paying from their own pockets,” she claimed.
Sahoo further said amid the Covid-19 situation, there are chances of infectious diseases spreading in the area as villagers are drinking contaminated water.
Similar is the situation in Kulha village which has a population of 400. The villagers are struggling to get food and drinking water as the village has been cut-off from other areas due to floods. Bhabendra Sahoo, a villager, said the sarpanch had provided locals water pouches and some dry food on Saturday. “The relief distributed by him was insufficient for 400 villagers. The administration should step in to provide relief to the affected villagers,” he said.
Sub-Collector Ashishiswar Patil said he has directed BDOs of the two blocks to ensure relief to affected villagers at the earliest.