The state government on Monday included 149 more families in rehabilitation package for sea-erosion affected people in Kendrapara district. While people are registering vociferous protest against acquisition of their land elsewhere, the things are on the contrary in Satabhaya.

People here are intent on leaving their ancestral land forever as sea is steadily eating up their settlements. Odisha’s first-ever rehabilitation project colony for the sea erosion affected people has got underway in Bagapatia village under Rajnagar tehsil.

The proposed colony is situated around eight KM from the sea-erosion-hit Satabhaya cluster of villages. The project to relocate the people from their ancestral villages of Satabhaya and Kanhupur is now in full swing.

After initial delay, it’s now nearing completion, said Special Relief Commissioner, Bishnupada Sethy, who visited the colony site and reviewed the progress of the project on Monday.

571 beneficiary-families who are losing out their ancestral place of inhabitation to sea in Satabhaya have been allocated 10 decimal land for the construction of their dwelling houses in the resettlement colony.

People are building their own houses with state funding from Biju pucca ghar scheme. The beneficiaries have also been provided with land records of rights or ‘patta’ after the receipt of forest clearance approval from competent authorities, he said.

The government has decided to include 149 more beneficiaries in the rehabilitation project after much deliberation. These erosion affected families have voluntarily shifted themselves to safety resettling buying land elsewhere.

Now they will figure in the list of beneficiaries. They would be allocated patta or land record of rights in the resettlement colony. They would receive all the benefits that is being extended to 571 earmarked beneficiaries.

With this, the resettlement colony would become permanent home for 720 erosion-affected families, he said. Rehabilitation project was scheduled to complete by March 2018. However the deadline has now been extended to July 2018.

More than 200 families are yet to leave their ancestral land in Satabhaya gram panchayat probably due to their deep attachment to the land. We held discussion with them. They agreed to shift to Bagapatia to built houses at the allotted plot.

139 families have already settled themselves full-fledged building respective houses in their plots, he said. Sixteen revenue villages spread over 3440 acres of land in Satabhaya panchayat have now been reduced to a couple of hamlets.

Five villages, Mohanpura, Sanagahirmatha, Paramnandapura, Kaduanasi and Sahebnagar have completely gone under the sea. Substantial portion of another eight villages have been submerged by the sea. Most villages do not have human settlements.