People of Odisha are apprehensive that the flood situation in the state, especially at Mundali in Cuttack city and neighbouring areas, may worsen over the next 24-48 hours. Large stretches of the Mahanadi and Subarnarekha river basins have gone underwater and all seven major rivers in Odisha are in the spate. A depression-induced heavy rainfall in the coastal state early this week has left at least nine people dead.
Highlighting that the state administration is on high alert, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Jena said rescue teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF), and Odisha Fire Service have been deployed at vulnerable pockets.
“We are expecting the flow of about 8 lakh cusec of water at Mundali near Cuttack by Saturday in the Mahanadi river system while the water level in the Subarnarekha river is also rising It is expected that water level in the Subarnarekha River will be at its peak height of 11.
5 metres near Rajghat by 10 pm to 12 midnight on Friday night,” Jena said.
A report from Keonjhar district said that three persons were swept away while collecting wood from the floodwaters in the Baitarani river near Anandapur barrage.
One of them was rescued by fire personnel, an official at the district emergency room said.
Meanwhile, reports said that floodwater of the Mahanadi has already entered agricultural fields and some villages in Cuttack and Khurda districts while water from the Subarnarekha river inundated around 30 villages under Baliapal and Bhograi blocks.
Some portions of Balasore Sadar block have also been affected by the flood, the reports said.
Following the release of floodwater from Hirakud Dam 30 hours ago, over 10 villages in three gram panchayats–Orabarasingh, Brajamohanpur, and Narangarh- in Khurda district are now surrounded by water, officials in the water resources department said.
The SRC said though the volume of water entering into Hirakud reservoir has declined because of less rainfall in the upper catchment areas in Chhattisgarh, the downstream water level is on the rise due to the release of floodwater through 28 sluice gates of the dam.
However, the water flow has increased at Mundali near Cuttack as it increased to 6.55 lakh cusec per second at 6 pm from 6.49 lakh cusec water per second at noon. The volume of water flow is on the rise in all the three gauge stations at Khairmal, Barmul, and Mundali along the Mahanadi system, he said.
“We are expecting a peak flow at Mundali by tomorrow. As per the projection, around 7.5 lakh cusecs of water will pass through Mundali. We hope to keep the flow below 8 lakh cusecs. As per our assessment, there will be no problem in the tributaries of the Mahanadi,” Jena said.
The engineer-in-chief of State Water Resource Department DK Samal said both men and machinery have been kept ready to tackle eventualities.
Speaking about the flood situation in Odisha, he said that five districts in the coastal region are likely to be affected by the flood as the water level in the Brahmani and Mahanadi rivers has risen due to incessant rainfall.
The water level in the Brahmani and the Mahanadi rivers may cross the danger marks in Jajpur, Cuttack, Puri, Kendrapara, and Jagatsinghpur districts, he said.
A report from Balasore district said that the water level in all the major rivers has become a matter of concern for residents living in low-lying areas. Heavy rain for the last two days in the catchment areas of Subarnarekha, Budhabalang, Jalaka, and Kansabansa has led to an increase in the water level.
The India Meteorological Department in its latest bulletin has forecast rains in the state from September 18 to 21 under the impact of the cyclonic circulation which lies over East Central and adjoining Northeast Bay of Bengal. Heavy rainfall is very likely to occur at one or two places in the districts of Bhadrak, Balasore, and Mayurbhanj from September 18 to 19.
Sixteen districts are likely to receive heavy rains from September 19 to 20 morning, it said.
(With PTI Inputs)