For the hapless victims of sea-erosion in Kendrapara district it is a cruel joke with the revenue administration serving notice to them for collecting cess against the land already gobbled by smashing sea waves and registering cases against those land-losers.
The sea-erosion-hit villagers are now burdened with litigation costs with the administration slapping cases under Orissa Public Demand Recovery (OPDR) Act for non-payment of cess arrears, villagers claimed.
Though the sea has eaten up land territory in the villages, land revenue records in Gupti revenue circle in Rajnagar tehsil are yet to be redrawn. In Satabhaya gram panchayat, the worst-hit by sea erosion, the sea has gobbled up 4,300 acres of land (private and government), land settlement was last conducted for Satabhaya gram panchayat in 1989.
Since then no fresh survey has been done to measure the land still intact. Nearly 2,100 acre of government land and 300 acre private owned land remains intact unharmed by seawaves.
“We are bound by revenue law. Local administration cannot waive off land cess even though we are aware that the sea has dispossessed people of their ancestral land. Waiving off tax needs sanction from the state government,” said Tehsildar Rajnagar Tehsil, Khirod Kumar Behera.