Champua: Baitarani has been continuously changing its course in Champua area of Keonjhar and eroding into its banks while farmers living in this riparian pocket are losing their lands to the river, a report said.
The farmers have long been worried over this problem while the government is doing nothing to contain bank erosion, residents alleged.
In the absence of spur, the river has been changing its course every year. The government has never spared a thought about this problem, lamented farmers.
Baitarani flows through parts of Jharkhand, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj.
In the monsoon, the river always remains in spate and erodes banks. “Huge chunks of earth cave into the river. All the lands along the bank merge into it,” said an aggrieved farmer.
According to the report, about a stretch of 40 meter of land at Dhar has been part of the river while the river has eroded 200 meters into the bank at Sarei.
Locals said a stretch of 250-metre wide landmass along the bank collapsed into the river this year at Katulikana; 200-metre stretch at Jyotipur; 300-metre stretch at Kanakadanahakani and another 300-metre stretch also submerged at Rupakunda.
Locals added that the only way to check bank erosion is to stone-pack the banks.
In 2015-16, former Champua MLA Sanatan Mahakud had initiated efforts for stone-packing of river banks. In the same year, Baitarani irrigation division had undertaken stone-packing at Godhuli.
However, after a few days, the stone-packing could not withstand the pressure of the river water and finally caved in at some places. Even after years, the department has not repaired those damaged parts of the stone packing.
Farmers expressed their unhappiness over the government apathy towards the problem.
“If no step is taken, we will be losing more farmlands in future. A time will come when we will have no land at all for agriculture,” another farmer lamented, demanding quick steps by the government.