Sea Turns Violent in Satabhaya, People wait for Resettlement

Kendrapada, Dec 15: As the sea is "turning violent" and eating into their lands, people of Satabhaya area in this Odisha district are stuck between government "apathy" and nature's scourge.

About 200 families of the region are living on the edge of sea, which they say has turned violent.

In rustic wisdom, they say that sea water has turned warmer and no human force could tame its striding march.

"Time is ripe to leave the place or else the surging sea will eat us up as it has done with their ancestral land. We watch helplessly as the sea strides towards our places of living almost on a daily basis," explained sea-displaced local Rajiv Lochan Hota.

Cyclone Hudhud of October 12 has imperilled the people further. Massive sand dunes that acted as a protective barrier against the onslaught of the sea waves are falling into pieces.

People of the area allege that resettlement plan announced by administration is yet to be fulfilled.

According to Brahmananda Jena, a villager of Barahipur, "Though the district administration had announced that the affected families will be relocated to a resettlement colony in Bagapatia by March 31, 2013, nothing has been done so far."

The shift of these sandy buffers has exposed the land to the advancing sea. People are hopelessly exposed to tidal waves as sand dunes are steadily getting fragmented. It's a danger signal.

The message is clear: the sea will be in our village very shortly. There is human settlement now only in Satabhaya, Barahipur and Magarkanda villages.

The cyclone has burst apart the sand dunes, opening gates for ingress of seawater, described Satabhaya Sarpanch, Nigamanand Rout.

The sea has been menacingly marching towards the human habitations in this part. It has advanced six km into this gram panchayat since past three-and-half-a-decade. Hamlets, places of human habitations and agriculture land are now under sea's lap, he said.

Describing Satabhaya area as a highly unsafe now, Kendrapada district collector Pramod Kumar Das said steps have already been initiated to shift people from vulnerable zone to safe place and rehabilitate them properly.

Flattened by fast advancing sea, over 200 families of Barahipur, Satabhaya, Magarkanda hamlets are living on the edge with continuous shrinkage putting the entire area in 'danger zone' category.

Kanhupur hamlet has already been gobbled up in the past six years. It is simply a matter of time that the remaining tracts of human civilisation in Satabhaya would be consumed by furious sea.