Environment

Heavy rains lash coastal Odisha as Bulbul nears

Fishermen have taken shelter in harbours even as farmers are harvesting paddy that has not fully ripened

 
By Ashis Senapati
Last Updated: Friday 08 November 2019
Rain triggered by Bulbul. Photo: Ashis Senapati

Heavy rains lashed Odisha's coastal districts of Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Balasore, Bhadrak and Ganjam on November 8, 2019 as cyclone Bulbul prepares to hit eastern India.

Bulbul is going to hit between Sagar Island in West Bengal and Khepupara in Bangladesh on the morning of November 10, 2019. Due to this, the coastal districts of Odisha have been experiencing heavy rainfall on November 8, said HR Biswas, the director of Indian Meteorological Centre, Bhubaneswar.

A cyclone warning flag, number one was hoisted at Paradip port on November 8, following the warning issued by the Meteorological Department, Pradip Jena, the special relief commissioner of the state government, said. 

Two Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) teams and one National Disaster Rapid Action Force (NDRF) team have been deployed to each of the six districts, he added.  

“Fifty fishing boats from West Bengal have taken shelter at Dhamara fishing harbour on November 8 due to cyclone warning,” Manas Sahoo, additional director of fishery (Marine), Kujang, said. 

“Nearly 559 trawlers and around 300 fishing boats have already returned from the sea at the fishing harbour at Paradip on November 8. We are warning fishermen through loudspeakers against venturing into the sea,” he added.

The sea was marginally rough and due to the cyclone warning, hundreds of boats in the jetties at Kharinashi, Jamboo, Kajalapatia, Bahakuda and Talachua in Kendrapada district and the fishing harbour at Paradip and other places remained anchored in the jetties, added Sahoo.

We recently organised awareness camps among fishermen in the fishing villages in both, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts and tried to convince them not to fish during inclement weather, Sahoo informed.

The fisheries department will take action against the fishermen who venture into the sea ignoring adverse weather warnings, he warned.  

“We depend on the sea for our daily earnings.  The imminent cyclone forced us not to venture into the sea. We are fishermen, we expect bad weather, but the continuous low pressure in the sea has ruined our lives,” Arjun Mandal, a fisherman of Batighar, said.

“The authorities are working with local Sarpanchs and other panchayat body members to help people prepare for the cyclone in the seaside villages of Rajnagar and Mahakalapada blocks,”  the district collector of Kendrapara, Samrath Verma, said.  

Farmers panic

Meanwhile, many farmers in Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur have started harvesting their paddy crops even before it matures completely due to fears that they may be destroyed during the cyclone.

“It would take around 10 to 20 days for the paddy crops to mature for harvesting in many areas. But if it rains with high velocity winds, paddy crops will be damaged completely for which we are now in a Catch-22 position,” Babaji Rana, a farmer of Bharatapur, said.

Narayan Sahoo of Iswarapur village said, “Unseasonal rain and wind will damage our paddy crops. I engaged six workers to harvest paddy from my two acres of land on November 6. I also engaged my wife, daughters and daughters-in-law to harvest the paddy due to shortage of labourers.” 

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