As heavy rains continued to lash Chhattisgarh, the water level at Hirakud dam rose menacingly, touching 627.27 ft as against the reservoir level of 630 ft, a senior official said.
Water Resources Secretary Suresh Mohapatra said 48 of the 64 sluice gates of Hirakud reservoir have so far been opened to release excess water and more gates would be opened if necessary.
The inflow of water into the reservoir has touched 9,50,630 cusec while about 8 lakh cusec of water is being released out of it, he said, adding that the discharge of such a huge volume of water has made the flood situation quite grim.
Stating that 11 lakh cusec of water is likely to flow through Mundali near Cuttack by tomorrow, the official said there were chances of several breaches taking place in the process.
About 500 weak points have been identified on river banks and embankments, of which 28 are highly sensitive and senior engineers and experts have been sent there to keep a constant vigil.
While an alert has been sounded in 11 districts, people residing in areas located in the Mahanadi delta have been asked to remain extra vigilant, Mohapatra said.
The district authorities of Sambalpur, Bolangir, Sonepur, Boudh, Nayagarh, Angul, Cuttack, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Khurda have been asked to be on guard.
Revenue and Disaster Management Minister SN Patro said instructions have been given to people to keep country boats/mechanised boats, dry food, kerosene, flash light, satellite phones, candles, matchboxes and other essentials ready.
Besides river Mahanadi, other major rivers, including Brahmani, Kathajodi, Baitarani, Subarnarekha, Budhabalanga, Bansadhara and Jalaka, were also in spate following the heavy downpour triggered by a low pressure.
About 45 villages have been submerged by the waters of Baitarani river in Jajpur district, affecting around 22,000 people, a senior district official said, adding that relief and rescue operation have been launched for the marooned villagers.
In Balasore district, the deluge affected more than one lakh people in around 140 villages.
Several villages were inundated in Bhadrak district, as flood waters of Baitarani submerged vast areas, including 530 hectares of agriculture land in Dhamnagar and Bhandari Pokhari areas, the official said.