Kendrapara: Citing safety issue as its top agenda for resettlement, the Orissa Government has decided to relocate erosion-hit villagers in coastal areas of Kendrapara district to Bagapatia, a safer place.

Residents of Satabhaya and Kanhupur villages under Rajnagar Tehsil had earlier expressed a wish to be resettled at Magarakanda, Rabindrapalli and Dantiapada.

Best bet

Kendrapara District Collector Srikanta Panda said that Bagapatia village, 12 km from the sea coast, was now being preferred to other spots for resettling the two villages. “We instilled confidence among the people as safety issue remains uppermost on Government agenda. There was an open-hearted and healthy interaction between the people and Government and forest officials. In deference to the majority opinion of the affected, it has now been decided to build the resettlement colony at Bagapatia village,” Panda said. Magarkanda, Rabindrapalli and Dantiapada villages were otherwise better spots for resettlement. But the locals were unwilling to shift to these places as they felt the low-lying topography would make these places susceptible to ingress of tidal waves.

Buffer zone

Besides, the Forest Department thought that these places could serve better as buffer zone for Bhittarkanika National Park, sources said.

Bagapatia village is free from forest land and wildlife sanctuary embargo and settling there would be within the framework of rules and regulation, the Collector said. - PTI