Life on the edge: Story of the last survivor in Odisha’s erosion-hit Podampeta village

Coastal Odisha is slowly being swallowed by the sea; almost half of its coast has undergone erosion between 1990 and 2015

By DTE Staff
Published: Monday 05 February 2024

It is a race against time and tide for CH Paindi, a resident of Podampeta village on the coast of Odisha. Once a place that was home to hundreds of people, Podampeta in Ganjam district now only has Paindi.

Coastal Odisha is slowly being swallowed by the sea. Almost half of Odisha’s coast—196 kilometres of shoreline—has undergone erosion between 1990 and 2015.

Since 2015, tides have been getting more aggressive by the day. Data from the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management shows that 74 villages in the state are severely affected by shoreline erosion—the highest in India.

The sea has engulfed 200 houses so far in Podampeta. The remaining 100 houses stand in a dilapidated condition, giving Podampeta the eerie look of a ghost village.

The government is well aware of the crisis and has been implementing measures to stabilise select areas of Odisha’s coastline since 2012. It allotted Rs 3 lakh per family in Podampeta for relocating and constructing a new house. But for CH Paindi, who has a family of seven, Rs 3 lakh is hardly anything.

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