Kendrapada,September 23 ( Odisha.in ) At least 25 houses were devoured by the sea in the Satabhaya and Kanhupur villages under Rajnagar block of Kendrapada during last two days .
Due to low pressure in the Bay of Bengal coupled with tidal waves . twenty feet high tidal waves crawled menacingly into the villages for which many panicked villages flee towards a 30 feet high sand dunes to save their lives.
Bishnu Sahani (57) of Satabhaya had constructed three roomed thatched house last year after his old house was devoured by the sea .
After constructing the new house half km away from the sea, Bishnu hoped to stay in his house at least five years as the sea is crawling menacingly towards Satabhaya Gram Panchayat comprising Kanpur, Eakkula, Habeliganda and Barahapur villages under Rajnagar block of Kendrapada district.
But on, his hope to stay few years in his house fell like ninepins after tidal waves washed away his house along with 25 houses of others.
The ancestors of Bishnu shifted their houses seven times within 50 years as the sea is marching ahead towards their village, said Sangram Sahani (77) father of Bishnu.
Since long ,the inhabitants of Satabhaya are fighting a losing battle against sea erosion, a realisation that has sparked a frantic scramble for land in distant places from the sea..
Satabhaya is threatened with extinction as the sea steadily erodes it. The sense of desperation in the air is reflected as many villagers are trying to shift from Satabhaya to distant places from the sea, said Bhagirathi Parida of Satabhaya.
Constant erosion by the Bay of Bengal has reduced Satabhaya’ s areas from 350 square km in the 1930 settlement map to approximately 140 square km today, said the block development officer of Rajnagar.
Over the past couple of years, at least 270 families rendered homeless. The Bay of Bengal ate into a large portion of the areas during past two days , forcing at least 74 families to shift to other places.
Due to repeated low pressure in the Bay of Bengal for past few years, the people of Satabhaya have been counting their days to be devoured by the sea at any time. Last , May at least 15 houses had been consumed by the sea.
The day is not far off when the whole area with a population of 2200 would be eaten up by the sea.
The extent of erosion in Satabhaya can be gauged from the fact that the 800-year-old Panchubarahi temple was situated 2km from the sea ten years ago. But now the temple situates with hand sake distance from the sea. On last Saturday, tidal waves entered the temple, said Fakir Sahani of Satabhaya.
The problem has reached such alarming proportions that the inhabitants of Satabhaya have started believing that the day is not far off when Satabhaya will vanish from the map, said Satrughan Nayak of Kanpur village.
A proposal had been mooted in 1992 to resettle the inhabitants of Satabhaya at Bagapatia and the then Chief Minister, Biju Pattanaik had sanctioned one crore rupees for the purpose.
Out of it, 14 lakh had been spent on the development of site at Bagapatia and the rest of the funds were lying with the district administration.
However, the present government changed its decision apparently on political motive and Chief Minister, Navin Pattanaik laid the foundation stone of the proposed resettlement colony at Makarkanda in February, 2004 on the eve of the last assembly and parliamentary elections, said Nayak.
The district administration is yet to acquire the forest lands to resettle the people of Satabhaya for which the resettlement work is yet to be started, district collector, Kashinath Sahoo told Odisha.in