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Surging Mahanadi keeps people, Odisha govt on tenterhooks

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Bhubaneswar, Aug 6:

With water rising alarmingly in the Mahanadi river system,  the Odisha government is bracing up to deal with a probable high flood situation while people living  downstream are in a state of panic.

Collectors of 13 districts are on a high alert following reports that Mahanadi, Baitarani, Salandi and Jalaka rivers were flowing above danger marks.

File pic of swelling Mahanadi river
File pic of swelling Mahanadi river

Mahanadi was flowing at 26.50 metres at Naraj near Cuttack against the danger level of 26.41 metres and  around 9.87 lakh cusecs of water was flowing in the river at Munduli on Tuesday night.

However, the volume is likely to rise to over 12 lakh cusec water on Wednesday due  to heavy rains in the upper catchment areas, the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Mohapatra said.

The flood water of Mahanadi was expected to hit the delta region on Thursday, he said.

The water level in Hirakud reservoir stood at around 625 ft against its full capacity of 630 ft and while 19 gates were open now, more gates are likely to be opened to deal with the heavy inflow of flood water from the upper catchment of Mahanadi in Chhattisgarh, which has received heavy rainfall in the last 24 hours.

People have already been evacuated from low-lying areas to safe places and free cooked food was being provided to over 46,000 affected persons, sources in the SRC’s office said.

Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Buodh, Khurda and Nayagarh districts are likely to be the most affected if there is high  flood in the Mahanadi river system.

The death toll due to rain and flood-related incidents during the current monsoon has mounted to 23. Most of the casualties were due to drowning and wall collapse.

While the intensity of rainfall subsided in many areas today, rainfall is likely to occur in Chhattisgarh which could raise water flow in Mahanadi river.

While fire service units were pressed for evacuation operation, over eight NDRF teams were sent to Keonjhar, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Cuttack, Kendrapara and Puri districts, official sources said.

Similarly, around 10 units of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) units have been deployed in Cuttack, Sambalpur, Bolangir, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Bhadrak and Balasore districts, the sources added.