Odisha Launches Rs 763 Cr Cyclone Resilient Saline Embankment Project For A Protective Shield

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has launched a Rs 763.5 crore project to build 198.81 km long cyclone resilient saline embankments in four coastal districts of the state to protect agricultural land and habitation from tidal surge.

The Water Resources Department has issued a notification on launching of the ‘Cyclone Resilient Saline Embankment Project’ to be implemented in the coastal districts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara and Puri. A proposal in this regard had earlier received approval of the state cabinet in August, reports said on Monday.

The state government has decided to fund the project from its own resources. Cyclone Fani in 2019, Amphan in 2020 and cyclone Yaas in 2021 have caused a substantial economic loss to the state as saline water entered into a large agricultural areas and villages.

The project will be executed during the period from financial year 2022-23 to 2024-25 with an outlay of Rs 763.5 crore. The project seeks to raise and strengthen the saline embankments to sustain the impact of severe cyclones. The embankments will also protect the adjacent landmass and habitation from flood, saline ingress and tidal surge of Bay of Bengal in the four coastal districts, sources said.

The project will benefit over 2.92 lakh people in 136 coastal villages of the four districts.

The project will also help to withstand cyclonic storms of higher magnitude such as high wind speed and sea storm surges, mitigate floods by keeping flood waters within channel boundary, and protect public infrastructures like school, hospital, anganwadi centre, utilities like electricity and road communication from extreme storm during cyclone.

The proposed saline embankments would also protect nearby habitation, agricultural land from saline ingress. It will also help in early restoration of all forms of economic activities in the region after the cyclonic event.

The state has made structural intervention in the form of saline embankments to the tune of 1,636 km in the coastal districts. However, the saline embankments of 156.17 km length have already been strengthened as per National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP).

Out of the remaining 1,479.83 km of saline embankments, a length of 416.01 km is vulnerable. Out of 416.01 km, 198.81 km is weak and extremely vulnerable, the notification said.

Now, the state government has planned for raising and strengthening of 36 saline embankments measuring total length of 198.81 km to cyclone resilient standard to sustain the impact of very severe cyclone with speeds up to 250 km/hour and to protect the adjacent landmass and habitation from floods, saline ingress and tidal surge of Bay of Bengal.

According to sources, upon completion of the projects, about 21,690 hectares of agricultural land will be protected from flood and saline ingress and 2,92,500 people in 136 villages in the above districts will be benefitted.

Due to raising and strengthening of embankments, road communication, scope for fishing and eco-tourism will be improved, the sources added.

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