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Odisha govt asks collectors of 12 dists to stay on alert for floods

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau

Bhubaneswar, Aug 4:

The Odisha government today asked collectors of 12 districts to stay on high alert in view of the flood threat triggered by heavy rains in these districts.

Flood-hit Baleswar (pic: courtesy The Hindu)The 12 districts are Sundargarh, Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Cuttack, Puri, Khurda, Nayagarh and Boudh.

Briefing media persons after a high level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to take stock of the flood situation, special relief commissioner (SRC) Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra said the collectors of these districts had been asked to evacuate people from low lying areas and make arrangements to open free kitchens for them.

The Chief Miister asked the concerned departments to keep a strict vigil on the weak river embankments, deploy mobile teams in these areas, make provisions for supply of drinking water with adequate stocks of medicines for treatment of people in the affected areas and keep adequate stock of fodder for domestic animals.

Mohapatra said the five northern districts were particularly vulnerable since the weather department had predicted heavy rains in these areas under the influence of the low pressure area, which lay over Midnapore in neighbouring Wwest Bengal this morning.

“There is a possibility of floods in Subarnarekha and Budhabalanga due to heavy rains in these areas. Collectors of the five districts have been asked to stay on high alert for any exigencies,” he said.

There is possibility of floodwater of Baitarani entering low lying areas of Keonjhar district while the low lying areas of Athgarh and Banki sub divisions in Cuttack district and Khandapada in Nayagarh district and most areas in Boudh district are likely to be affected by the floodwater of Mahanadi, Mohapatra said.

The SRC, however, claimed that there was no immediate threat in the Mahanadi system despite rains in the lower reaches of the river in the last two days.

When his attention was drawn to the fact that floodwater of Mahanadi has crossed the danger level at Naraj, he said the state government was aware of it.

“8.43 lakh cusecs of water was flowing through the Mundali barrage at 9 am today. Even accounting for more rains likely in the next few hours, the outflow is unlikely to cross 10 lakh cusecs. As you are aware, 14 lakh cusecs of water had flown through the barrage in 2011. Thus, there is no immediate threat of floods in the Mahanadi,” he said.

“We are confident of tackling the flood situation in the low lying areas,” he added.

Mohapatra said the situation in Sambalapur, which experienced over 350 mm of rains in just 24 hours on Saturday, had improved considerably. “The Sambalpur collector has been asked to facilitate the return of the 4, 000 people, who were evacuated after flooding, to their homes,” he said.

He informed that the death toll in the state in this year flood had gone up to 16 with the death of a person in Sambalpur yesterday.