Chhatrapur/Berhampur: At least 12 villages near Podampeta in Ganjam district face serious erosion threat from surging sea waves, spreading panic among the residents who are spending sleepless nights now. Reports said rapid erosion of land mass by surging sea waves has pushed the fishermen dominated Podampeta village to the verge of extinction. The village was once populated by over 500 families. As the erosion threat is increasing day by day, several families have deserted the village. The remaining residents said they also earn their livelihood from the cashew forest near the sea coast, apart from fishing. They also said that they would lose their livelihood if they leave the village. The rest of the families have been shifted and rehabilitated at New Podampeta.
However, the residents at New Podampeta complain about lack of drinking water facilities. Earlier, the distance between the sea and Podampeta was about 2km but with the sea surface often remaining rough after a series of cyclonic storms, the distance between the sea and the village has been reduced to a few metres now. This has sparked concern and fear among the residents. They demanded the state government and district administration to intervene and take steps to protect their lives and properties from the ravaging sea waves. They said that a stone embankment should be constructed to prevent the sea ingress. Recently, high altitude tidal waves ravaged the area by damaging houses that were washed away into the sea.
Earlier, over 30 houses in three settlements of the village have been washed away by the sea waves. When contacted, Collector Dibya Jyoti Parida said that the district administration is working to establish a model colony to rehabilitate the evacuated residents of Podampeta.