Saturday, May 28, 2022
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Rising Oceans

Waterworld! Rising Seas Pose A Threat To Millions Living Along India’s Coastline

India has no policy for rehabilitating climate refugees even as the people living along coastal West Bengal and Odisha are exposed to greater vulnerability

Waterworld! Rising Seas Pose A Threat To Millions Living Along India’s Coastline
Inundation-III Photograph by Atul Bhalla

Forty-year-old Sudarshan Raut would have had to migrate from his home state of Odisha to some other place in search of work had his wife, Sasmita, not been a schoolteacher, ensuring a steady income. One of the residents of Satabhaya, a coastal village in Kendrapara district that vanished into the sea in the last decade, Raut used to farm on their four-acre land along the coast and tended to cattle. Now, the land is gone and the cattle are sold, because there is no pasture available for grazing in the new location where the government rehabilitated the Satabhaya residents in 2018. “The rehabilitation meant only houses at a new colony, under the Odisha government’s rural housing scheme. There has been no compensation for the loss of livelihood,” says Raut who now lives at Bagapatia.

Many of his age and from the younger generation had to migrate to states like Delhi, Karna­taka and Kerala. Those who were into fishing have their hassles increased manifold—they have to travel to and from their old village every day. Bagapatia is about 12 km inland from the sea.

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