Bhadrak: With monsoon setting in, the people of Bhadrak town and around its outskirts fear water logging and floods in the town. The reason is that the Salandi river, the lifeline for Bhadrak farmers, is clogged with weeds. The people fear that the choked riverbed can trigger floods.
Locals said five years ago, about Rs 150 crore was spent under the Salandi Sanskar Yojana for removing weeds from the river, but most of the river’s course passing through the town is now full of weeds.
The Water Resources Department also spends lakhs every year to remove weeds from the river, but that too is of no use.
People living in riparian pockets said that if the riverbed is not cleared of weeds, they would face devastating floods like in 1999. During the super cyclone, Bhadrak town was submerged for seven days as the river remained clogged.
The Salandi Sanskar Yojana was launched to solve this problem. The project entailed dredging the river and strengthening embankments.
The river is fully choked near Arjun Bridge.
As the river’s course is choked, thousands of acres of farmlands in Tihidi and Chandbali blocks will also face floods. Some pillars of the bridge are in bad shape and can cave in during floods, people said.
Last year, weeds were cleared from Gobindapur Bridge to Bilana-Baro by the Salandi Irrigation Division. Executive Engineer Artatrana Sahu said a tender will be floated for weed clearing soon.
The weed clearing drive will be completed by July end.