Odisha Mahanadi flood: With the water level of Mahanadi river rising fast following heavy rains in the catchment areas, the Odisha government Monday is making efforts to contain the impending flood within medium range and has closed eight more gates in Hirakud reservoir, official sources said.
A total 13 districts in the state have already been affected by flood and Monday night is being considered crucial for the delta region as the major volume of water will flow through the Mahanadi river system during the period.
The heavy rain in the upper and lower catchment areas have led to the rise in the water levels in all tributaries of Mahanadi. The special relief commissioner (SRC) P K Jena said more water is entering Hirakud reservoir due to heavy rainfall in the upper catchment areas in Chhattisgarh and
the situation has deteriorated with Tel river discharging over three lakh cusecs into the Mahanadi river instead of the expected 1.5 lakh cusec. Heavy rainfall in Indravatri river basin, particularly in Kalahandi and Bolangir districts on Sunday night, has added to the water of Tel river
“We need to close eight gates of Hirakud dam in order to regulate the flood within the medium range. Now water is being discharged through 26 gates today instead of the 34 gates on Sunday,” Jena told reporters after chief secretary reviewed the situation here.
The SRC said that if flood water is discharged through 34 gates as on Sunday, the water level at Mundali barrage near Cuttack will cross 12.5 lakh cusec. At 6 pm on Monday 10.41 lakh cusec of water was flowing through the barrage and the volume is likely to increase further.
The government is trying to keep the flood water volume within 10.5 lakh cusec near Cuttack and therefore there is no alternative but to close eight gates, he said. Sources in the water resources department said that while 9,21,131 cusec water is entering Hirakud reservoir every second, only 4,51,655 cusec is being released in order to contain the flood within medium range. The water level at Hirakud at 6 PM was 622.39 feet against the full reservoir level of 630 feet.
In view of the impending flood the government has asked collectors of districts concerned and engineers of the water resources department to be on alert and monitor the situation. Special instructions have been issued to the authorities of Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Puri districts to remain prepared for any eventuality.
Odisha chief secretary S C Mohapatra has asked the district administration to begin evacuation of people from the low-lying areas.Those who have already been evacuated are being provided with both dry and cooked food in shelters, he said.
Though no major river embankments have been breached, the incessant rain has already inundated several areas in Sambalpur, Bargarh, Subarnapur, Boudh, Kandhamal and Cuttack districts. Some areas have been marooned due to backwater of Mahanadi.
Tributaries of the Mahandi like Rajua, Malaguni, Daya, Bhargavi, Luna, Karandia and Chitrtopla have swollen due to the heavy rain triggered by last week’s low pressure and depression, he said.
Jena said the government has increased the number of rescue teams to 32 from 22 and National Disaster Relief Force, Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force and fire service personnel have been mobilised in the vulnerable areas. Engineers of the water resources department have been stationed to monitor the river embankments.
"Patrolling is being done in all identified and vulnerable places,” Water Resources Minister Tukuni Sahu said during an inspection at Naraj area in Cuttack. She said the district collectors of Sambalpur, Subarnapur, Boudh, Nayagarh, Angul, Cuttack, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Khurda, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Jajpur and Keonjhar have been instructed to monitor the situation
The meteorological department in its latest bulletin said extremely heavy rain over 204 mm pounded parts of Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Koraput, Nabarangpur and Sambalpur. Thuamul Rampur in Kalahandi recorded 368 mm rain over a 24-hour period till 8.30 am, followed by 293 mm at Kotpad in Koraput and 235 mm at K Nuagaon in Kandhamal district.
Very heavy rain lashed Sundargarh, Rayagada, Jharsuguda and several others districts of western Odisha and more rain is likely in the state as a fresh low pressure may form over northwest Bay of Bengal around Friday, the weatherman said.
The districts so far affected due to the flood are Sambalpur, Subarnapur, Bargarh, Boudh, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Cuttack, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Bhadrak, Balasore and Jajpur.
Several areas in Bhadrak district are inundated, while the water level of the Baitarani and Salandi rivers are on the rise. The water level in Baitarani breached the danger mark near Akhuapada, a district official said and the flood waters have submerged paddy fields in several villages under Chandbali, Tihidi, Dhamanagar and Bhandari Pokhari blocks of the district.
A few landslide incidents have been reported in Mohana block in Gajapati district leading to the blockade of roads. Similarly, many areas in Dasarathpur block of Jajpur district have also been flooded and the people are being evacuated to safe places, a district official said.