At least 12 people have been killed in Odisha in rain-related incidents as the state received heavy rainfall due to depression in the Bay of Bengal, PTI reported on Tuesday. The Odisha government asked collectors of six districts in the state to remain prepared for all emergency situations as “low to medium” flooding is expected in Mahanadi and Baitarani rivers.
Special Relief Commissioner BR Sethi asked the district collectors of Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur, Khurda, and Puri in the Mahanadi delta area to be on high alert after 7,30,877 cusecs of water flowed through the Mundali gauge station near Cuttack by Monday evening. Collectors of Keonjhar and Bhadrak have also been asked to remain vigilant after water level in Baitarani crossed the danger mark of 17.8 metres.
Taking stock of the situation in the state capital Bhubaneswar on Monday, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said, “We should remain in a state of full preparedness to tackle any emergency situation and provide immediate relief to the affected people.”
Officials said at least four lakh people across 62 blocks in 14 districts have been affected. These include Angul, Boudh, Bargarh, Deogarh, Jajpur, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Khurda, Koraput, Nayagarh, Rayagada, Sambalpur, Subarnapur, and Puri. The Chief Minister’s Office said that connectivity had been restored in Malkangiri and the situation was normal in Kalahandi, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, and Puri. In Sambalpur, shelters and cooked meals had been arranged to help the affected population.
While more water was set to be released from the Hirakud dam reservoir to the Mahanadi, which could lead to a flood situation, Water Resources Secretary PK Jena allayed such fears. “The release of water will not add to the flood situation because it will take 36 hours to reach Mundali,” he said. “By the time the Hirakud water reaches Cuttack, the existing water may be released to the sea during those 36 hours.”
The Hirakud Dam has a storage capacity of 630 feet and the water level had already touched 616.4 feet by Monday evening. Mobile teams of the Water Resources Department are on standby to scrutinise weak embankments and canals.