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Floodwaters rise, tent trade soars
Children drink water from a submerged tube well near Gop village in Puri district (AP)

Jajpur, Sept. 14: The floods have spelt devastation for most people, but some are making hay while the waters remain high.

As the floods render hundreds of families homeless, local tent houses are making brisk business by providing tents on hire to the flood victims. In the absence of government succour, families whose houses have collapsed in the gushing floodwater have no alternative but to hire tents from the local tent house.

“As floodwaters gushed into my house and inundated it, we rushed to higher ground to save ourselves. With old parents and small children accompanying us, we found no place to take shelter. My family spent two days and nights under the open sky. No succour came either from the government or any voluntary organisation. Frantic, I approached the local tent house to provide a tent for us. The tent house immediately supplied a tent on rent of Rs 50 per day. We have been spending our nights in the tent for the past three days,” said Bijaya Kumar Baral, a flood victim of Mirzapur village, which falls in Dharmasala block of Jajpur district.

Bijay is not alone. Hundreds of flood-affected people from Mirzapur, Patunia, Kantigadia Patapur and Khetrapal gram panchayats of the block have hired tents to take shelter, as floodwaters of the Birupa and Genguti, tributaries of the Mahanadi, flooded their homes and drove them out. Many houses in these panchayat areas have collapsed.

“Many people from our area have been rendered homeless by the flood. They have approached us for tents. It is our duty to provide them with the tents. We usually charge some rent for the tent. In the absence of government supply of free polythene, there has been high demand for tents and polythene sheets. The demand is great but I have a limited stock of tents and other materials,” said Minaketan Sutar, a tent house proprietor in Mirzapur village.

Besides, safe drinking water has become the most pressing problem in the flood-hit areas, as all tube wells, wells and public taps have been submerged.

The swollen Mahanadi and its tributaries Birupa and Genguti have submerged more than 30 villages in 10 gram panchayats in Dharmasala, marooning over 25,000 people in the block.

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