Jajpur: The recent flood in Baitarani, which played havoc in Jajpur and Bhadrak districts, is said to be a manmade disaster and not a natural one, reflecting the faulty management of river basins in the state, a report said.
The situation has arisen despite the state government spending crores on repairing and rebuilding river embankments and in flood control measures in rivers Brahmani, Baitarani and their distributaries flowing in Jajpur and Bhadrak.
Observers have claimed that the floods in both districts were caused by shoddy repair and construction works. The substandard work carried out during repair and construction of embankments often leads to breach at many places and finally results in floods during the rainy season.
Jajpur has 400 km long embankments of Baitarani and its distributaries. It is not that there is dearth of funds for repair and construction of embankments. Even funds from special relief commission and MGNREGS are being spent for the purpose.
However, no sincere efforts are being made to find out a permanent solution to floods which are occurring year after year and causing much devastation in both districts.
The government has started work on the Anandapur barrage project in Keonjhar district January 28, 2009. The project when completed is expected to check the flood situation from worsening in Baitarani.
However, work on the project is yet to be completed and is moving at a snail’s pace. Similarly, the proposed Rajnagar multi-purpose irrigation project in Keonjhar district planned in 1997 has remained a nonstarter.
An expert team of engineers surveyed the area and claimed that the project when implemented would help in controlling floods in Jajpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and in Anandapur sub-division of Keonjhar district and help irrigate over 40,000 hectares of farmland. However, that was not to be as the project is yet to take off due to lack of political will.
The plan outlay of the project initially estimated at Rs 164 crore has now escalated to over Rs 1,000 crore due to the inordinate delay.
Moreover, there is need for construction of more barrages in the upstream of Baitarani which would help in controlling flood in Korei, Jajpur, Dasarathpur and Binjharpur blocks in Jajpur which are on the downstream. However, such projects are yet to be implemented.
Every year, the state government and Centre are contributing crores towards construction and repair of embankments but large scale irregularities and lack of political will and administrative apathy have marred the projects.