Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jul 29:
With torrential rains in the upper catchment areas of the four major rivers – Subarnarekha, Brahmani, Baitarani and Budhabalanga – triggering heavy floods in North Odisha, two persons of Baliapal block in Baleswar district were swept away by flood water this morning.
Reports reaching here said the water levels of all four rivers have now crossed the danger mark.
Two youths—Dara Sahu and Kabula Sahu – of Charabasta village in Baliapal block were swept away by the floodwaters of Subarnarekha while trying to cross the overflowing floodwaters on the road near their village this morning.
The duo was swept away when they were going to the nearby market to get some medicines. The ODRAF team has launched search operations to trace out the two missing villagers, but they are to be traced.
In Jajpur district, the repair of a breach in Baitarani embankment at Ganeshpur is in full swing. Efforts are on to send more ODRAF teams to the district, the Water Resources secretary Pradeep Jena said here after a high level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to take stock of the flood situation.
Besides, floodwaters have entered into several villages following a breach in the Kali river embankment at Ahiyas in Jajpur district, he said.
Reports from Mayurbhanj district said the floodwaters of Budhabalanga river has entered low-lying areas in Baripada town. The district administration has shifted the people of these areas to some schools and other places in the town.
In Bhadrak district, the floodwaters of Baitarani has marooned 10 panchayats, including Gurigan, Rahania, Solampur and Balipokhari of Bhandaripokhari and Dhamnagar blocks, Jena said.
He said the decision to release floodwaters from Rengali Dam today has been cancelled due to peak flood in Baitarani system.
“Since the floodwaters of Baitarani goes into Kharasuan river, we decided not to open the dam sluice gate today. If there is an improvement in the flood situation, we will take a decision to open the gate of the dam tomorrow,” he added.
Presiding over the high level review meeting on the flood situation at the State Secretariat here today, chief minister Naveen Patnaik directed the Water Resources department to monitor relief and rescue work in the flood affected areas with immediate effect.
With the alarming rise in the water level of Subarnarekha river, the chief minister directed the concerned district collectors to remain on high alert and evacuate the people from the low-lying areas to safer places.
“The chief minister directed the department to deploy more Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) units to the flood-hit areas of Baleswar, Mayurbhanj and Jajpur district immediately,” said Jena.
He said following heavy flood in Subarnarekha, most parts of Baleswar and Mayurbhanj districts are likely to be badly affected.
Stating that since some parts of Mayurbhanj district and some parts of Baleswar district mostly Basta, Bhogarai and Baliapal blocks are affected by flood in Subararekha every year, Jena said these areas this year will be definitely affected this year as the floodwaters of Subarnarekha has crossed the danger mark sine last night and continues to rise further today.
He said the floodwater of Subarnarekha has entered the Manunagar village and the low-lying areas of Bhogarai block following a breach at Dahamunda in Baleswar district this morning.
Besides, the constant rise in the water level of Subarnarekha has inundated Thongadiha, Ramachandrapur, Chalanti and Dhitapura villages under Basta, Jaleswar and Baleswar blocks.
Stating that there was a 10-metre breach at Dahamunda embankment of Subarnarekha today, Jena said the repair work of the breach is underway. “We are trying to complete the repair work of the breach as soon as possible,” he said.
Jena also said the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have already been deployed in Baleswar and Jajpur districts for rescue and relief operations.
Since the flood situation in Subarnarekha is likely to be grim due to torrential rain in upper catchments, the chief minister directed the department to deploy more ODRAF teams in flood-prone areas of Baleswar district.
“We have asked the Baleswar collector to evacuate the people from the low-lying areas, if necessary. Both myself and the special relief commissioner (SRC) are in constant touch with the district collector,” Jena informed.
“We have to remain on high alert since there is possibility of heavy rains as predicted by the Met department in the district under the influence of a depression in the next two days on July 30 and 31”, he added.
He said the decision to release flood waters from Rengali Dam today has been cancelled due to peak flood in Baitarani system.
“Since the flood waters of Baitarani goes into Kharasuan river, we decided not open the dam sluice gate today. If there is improvement in the flood situation, we will take a decision to open the gate of the dam tomorrow”, Jena pointed out.