With water levels of the Mahanadi river continuing to rise, Odisha’s Hirakud dam has opened 46 of its 64 sluice gates, releasing the excess water flowing in from the upper catchment area of Chhattisgarh.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has deputed senior IAS officers to monitor the situation in seven coastal districts which are likely to be affected by large-scale flooding.
According to officials, the water level in the Hirakud dam is increasing by 8 cm every hour. Water Resource Department chief engineer Jyotirmaya Rath said, “There is a risk of flooding in the districts of Mahanadi Basin. Around 10.5 lakh cusec floodwater released from Hirakud dam to the river will reach Mundali barrage by 5 am tomorrow. In view of this, all these districts have been placed on high alert. Flood waters are above the danger mark at Baitarani Akhuapada. The water level in other rivers is declining.”
Special Relief Commissioner Pradeep Jena said, “The inflow of Hirakud is 8.78 lakh cusecs while the outflow is 7.57 lakh cusecs. The inflow capacity has increased by over 1 lakh cusec. The water level of the reservoir stands at 626.89 feet as against its full capacity of 630 feet.”
The floodwaters are likely to cause flooding in Cuttack, Khordha, Puri, Jagatsinhpur, Kendrapada and Nayagarh districts.
“Collectors of all districts downstream of Mahanadi are on alert. Teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and fire safety officials are already managing rescue and relief operations in the affected areas in the low lying areas. They are also on standby in areas where there is a likelihood of flood like situation due to the water release,” Jena said.
On Saturday, CM Patnaik deputed senior four IAS officers to oversee and monitor the situation in seven coastal districts which are likely to be affected by the floodwaters. Industries Department Principal Secretary Hemant Sharma will monitor situations in Kendrapada, Panchayati Raj Department Principal Secretary Deoranjan Kumar Singh in Cuttack, Sports and Youth Services Commissioner-cum-Secretary Vishal Dev has been deputed to Balasore and Principal Secretary in the Revenue and Disaster Management Department Bishnupada Sethi has been deputed to Bhadrak district.
Meanwhile, Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Department secretary Vir Vikram Yadav has been given charge of Jajpur district, School and Mass Education Department Principal Secretary Satyabrata Sahu will monitor situations of Jagatsinghpur district and Revenue Divisional Commissioner (Central Division) Anil Kumar Sahu has been given charge of Puri district.
According to officials, over 4 lakh people in 1,276 villages under 54 blocks of Angul, Balangir, Balasore, Boudh, Cuttack, Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Nuapada, Deogarh and Sonepur districts have been affected by various rain and flood related incidents, with 12 deaths.