Odisha gears up preparations to deal with 'medium flood' in Mahanadi basin
Odisha flood news: The Odisha government is gearing up its preparation to deal with a "medium flood" in the Mahanadi river basin even as several areas across districts have been inundated due to heavy rain over the last few days, officials said on Monday. Chief Secretary SC Mohapatra held a meeting during the day to review the preparedness of the district administrations to tackle the situation, they said.
The water level in the river is gradually rising due to downpour in the upper catchment areas in Chhattisgarh after a depression moved in the north-west direction, the CS said. The situation has been aggravated by heavy rainfall in the western districts of the state, he said. “We are expecting that 10.5 lakh cusec water will flow through Mundali barrage near Cuttack by Monday evening, which may cause a medium flood in the delta region," the chief secretary said.
Collectors of districts concerned and engineers of the water resources department have been asked to remain on alert and monitor the situation. The chief secretary said the district administrations have been instructed to commence 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. The water level in Hirakud dam stands at 620.12 feet as against the full reservoir capacity of 630 feet, another official said.
"The administration is anticipating a flow of 10.5 lakh cusec water at Mundali by Monday evening, and the water level has already reached 9,18,383 cusec by 9 am today," he said. Water has been discharged through 34 gates of the Hurakud dam. The Mahanadi river and its tributaries are constantly swelling up with heavy rainfall but the state government has decided to close eight of the 34 gates of the Hirakud dam.
"We have decided to close eight gates till tomorrow morning to regulate the water flow downstream. If the water is released through 34 gates, the flow at Mundali near Cuttack could cross 12 lakh cusec. We want to keep the volume of water flow within 10.5 lakh cusec. Therefore, the authorities will reduce the discharge of water by 1.20 lakh cusec to the downstream," Special Relief Commissioner PK Jena told reporters after the review meeting with the chief secretary.
The decision to close eight gates of the dam was taken as the water resources department anticipated a higher flow could wreak havoc downstream. The water level at Naraj near Cuttack has reached 26.68 metres, exceeding the danger level of 26.41 metres by 1 pm, and is still rising, the official said adding that another 1.5 lakh cusec is likely to be added by the evening. 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.
Tributaries of the Mahanadi river such as Rajua, Malaguni, Daya, Bhargavi, Luna, Karandia and Chitrtopla swelled up with heavy rain triggered by the last week’s low pressure and depression, he said. Jena said 22 rescue teams have been mobilised to the vulnerable areas, while the engineers of the water resources department were stationed to monitor river embankments. "Patrolling is being done in all identified and vulnerable places," he said. Collectors of Sambalpur, Subarnapur, Boudh, Nayagarh, Angul, Cuttack, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Khurda, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Jajpur and Keonjhar districts have been instructed to monitor the situation, he said.
The meteorological department, in its latest bulletin, said the depression over north Chhattisgarh and neighbourhood moved west-northwestwards with a speed of 25 kmph and lay centred over northwest Chhattisgarh and adjoining east Madhya Pradesh. It is very likely to continue to move west-northwestwards and weaken gradually during the next 12 hours, it said. Several areas in the Bhadrak district were inundated, while the water level of the Baitarani and Salandi rivers continued to rise.
The water level in the Baitarani river breached the danger mark near Akhuapada, a district official said, adding that paddy fields in several villages under Chandbali, Tihidi, Dhamanagar and Bhandari Pokhari blocks of the district have been inundated. A few landslide incidents have been reported in Mohana block in the Gajapati district leading to the blockade of roads. Similarly, many areas in the Dasarathpur block of the Jajpur district have also been flooded and the people are being evacuated to safe places, a district official said.
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