Bhubaneswar, Aug 29: The Odisha government today deployed rescue teams as the water level in the Mahanadi river continued to swell, flooding some low-lying areas.
"We have already deployed the personnel of the ODRAF, the NDRF and the fire service for immediate rescue operation in the districts of Puri, Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack and Bhadrak. The collectors of 11 districts in the Mahanadi basin are also on high alert as the flood water is flowing into the river," Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi said.
Though 6,08,560 cusecs of water flows through the Mundali gauge station in Mahanadi river near Cuttack, it may increase to 8.5 lakh cusecs by midnight, Sethi said. The Bhadrak collector has informed that flood water had entered some areas in Tihidi, Bhadrak blocks and Bhadrak municipality area last night, but the situation was not alarming.
Multipurpose shelters are kept ready for any emergency and the collectors have been told to evacuate people from low-lying areas if required, the SRC said. The Water Resource Department secretary, P K Jena, said while 4,08,320 cusecs of water was being released from the Hirakud dam through 25 sluice gates, there was no possibility of opening more gates even if the inflow to the reservoir reaches 5.7 lakh cusecs, he said.
Around eight lakh cusecs of water is likely to pass through Mundali near Cuttack city tonight. The patrolling teams have been engaged in inspection of weak and vulnerable river embankments. Adequate materials like bamboo, sand bags and others are stored in vulnerable places, sources in the Water Resources Department said. The authorities of Balimela reservoir in Malkangiri have also opened two of its 10 shutters, following incessant rains.
A report from the Boudh and Subarnapur districts said vast areas of agricultural land have been inundated and road communication snapped in many parts in both the places. The Malkangiri district administration has alerted the residents of Doraguda, Gunthawada and Nuaguda gram panchayats and suggested people to move to safer destinations in case too much water flows into the area.
Sources in the IMD said the state received an average of 4.9-mm rainfall in the past 24 hours. Four districts -- Malkanagiri, Keonjhar, Koraput, Angul -- received between 10-20mm rainfall. As per the IMD forecast, there is a possibility of rain or thundershower in many places across the state, but no warning of heavy rainfall for today and tomorrow. Heavy rainfall is likely to occur in one or two places in Bargarh, Jharsuguda, Sundargarh, Keonjhar, Deogarh, Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Kalahandi and Kandhamal districts on Friday, it added.
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