Sib Kumar Das
PODAMPETA (Ganjam Dist): The sea that had served as their sustainer since generations is now posing threat to their very existence.
Podampeta, the fishermen’s village near Kantiagada under the Ganjam block, which is inhabited by around 350 families, is now on the verge of getting gobbled up by the sea. The reason behind it is said to be the recent changes in the Rushikulya river mouth. “We no more think of the festivals that may have coincided with the full moon or new moon days, but have sleepless nights on those high tide days,” says B. Parvati of Podampeta.
A few decades ago, the sea was almost one and half km away from the village. Now, the sea line has come closer and closer with changes in the Rushikulya river mouth. Earlier, the sea was coming slight closer to the human habitat on high tide days. But, on the last new moon night, waves touched the village.
The change in coastline has also affected the groundwater in the village. The water at the only well in the village has turned too saline. The village existed on the government land and the villagers have no legal document for their existence. Administration has till date made no efforts to rehabilitate the villagers. Even if efforts are made to rehabilitate them, most of these families would find it hard to get administrative help as they do not have pattas for the land they are staying at Podampeta.
The panicked inhabitants want either a guard wall near their village to save it from the sea or to get rehabilitated at other safer place with proper facilities. Recently, Ganjam block chairman Surath Pahana visited the village and promised Indira Awas houses to 75 families.