Bagapatia, settlement for climate change victims to be converted into model colony
Bhubaneswar: India’s first climate refugee village Bagapatia in Kendrapara district would be converted into a model colony. The Odisha government has sanctioned Rs Rs 22,50,71,000 crore in the first phase of work.
Over 600 families are residing in Bagapatia where victims of sea erosion from Satabhaya Gram Panchayat in Rajnagar block were rehabilitated by the government.
The sanctioned funds would be utilized for the construction of houses, drinking water, electricity connection, road, and other facilities. The government is planning to provide agricultural land to the villagers who have lost their livelihood due to coastal erosion.
The government has directed the Tourism department to develop the Panchubarahi shrine in the locality as a tourist destination with infrastructure and light and sound shows.
The deities of Panchubarahi temple were relocated after 400 years and a new temple was constructed in Bagapatia.
The state government formed the Bagapatia colony in 2014 for the people displaced by coastal erosion in Satabhaya.
Satabhaya, which refers to the seven villages once in existence, was the most prosperous village with its economy revolving around agriculture and fishing. According to tehsil records, the villages, which spread across 875.16 acres of land, were named Sanagahiramatha, Mohanpur, Habeli Chintamanipur, Gobindpur, Kaduanasi, Saheb Nagar, and Paramanandapur.
However, sea erosion which started in 1960 compelled the inhabitants to move inland and form five new villages – Kanhupur, Satabhaya, Barahipur, Rabindrapalli, and Magarakanda. Satabhaya was the Gram Panchayat headquarters. Of the five villages, only Satabhaya remains while Kanhupur disappeared in 2011.
Appreciating the initiative, climate change expert Ranjan Panda shared,” It is good to see that the state government has come up with an idea of making Bagapatia a model colony. However, we have to see whether they will come up with a solution to compensate people for their land loss and ensure them a livelihood option.”
“The settlement has been established in 2014 so we have seen what steps have been already taken in the settlement. The government needs to look into the various challenges people are facing which need to be answered. the idea should go beyond model colony and we should take care of all the issues of the people at the settlement,” he added.
Stressing on the formation of Resettlement policy he said, “Proper resettlement policy needs to be formed for climate change victims. Bagapatia is not the only place, there are many other places in Odisha which are facing the threat of coastal erosion. It is going to be a big issue in the future and we should prepare accordingly.”