**Bhubaneswar:** As water levels in Mahanadi and Baitarani rivers have increased following incessant rain over last two-three days, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday directed the Collectors of eight districts to remain on high alert in a bid to effectively tackle the emergent situation arising out of it.
The districts of Mahanadi basin are Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur, Khurda and Puri while the three districts of Baitarani system are Keonjhar, Jajpur and Bhadrak.
Presiding over an emergent high level review meeting at the State Secretariat here, the Chief Minister ordered the concerned district administration to be well-prepared to deal with the situation in coordination with all the departments. The Chief Minister also directed the ODRAF and Fire Services to associate themselves with the district administrations for rescue and relief operations.
The areas where situation have improved after the torrential rains of past three days, the Chief Minister today directed the concerned district administrations to assess the loss and damage caused and submit report soon so that the affected could be compensated forthwith.
Soon after the high level review meeting, Odisha Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Bishnupada Sethi informed media, “The Chief Minister today reviewed situation that has arisen due to torrential rains. The review revealed that over 300 mm rainfall has been recorded in 23 blocks in the last three days while 46 blocks have experienced over 200 mm rainfall. People had been warned much earlier about this rainfall prediction. The Chief Minister expressed satisfaction for the early warning at the right time. Also he praised the way the communication link was restored soon by the administration.”
He added, “Casualty figure can be dubbed as almost nil. As the dutiful ODRAF, Fire Service units and the administrative staff sincerely worked hard, the situation is tending to normalcy.”
The SRC stated, “However, medium range flood situation is likely in Mahanadi. Apart from that, water level is increasing in Baitarani river. Keeping in view the increase in water level, the Chief Minister has directed the concerned district administrations to be on high alert and provide people all sorts of help and relief operations.”
He informed, “There are 20 ODRAF teams in Odisha and 326 Fire Services units. Their movement and deployment are being monitored at the DGP level. Wherever it is further necessary, we’re deploying them.”
“So far Baitarani river situation is concerned, it has crossed the danger level at Akhuapada. The water level is now at 17.83 metre. We hope that it would remain at 18.25 metre at the worst case. Following which some Panchayats under Dhamnagar and Bhandariphokhari blocks are going to be affected. Mainly the agricultural land will be submerged. A few people will need to be evacuated for which the district administration has been kept on high alert,” the SRC informed further.
He reiterated, “As I told earlier, medium flood will in Mahanadi. In case of anything untoward anywhere else, district administrations will take preventive step of evacuation and also do the needful of relief measures.”
Water Resources Principal Secretary P.K. Jena informed, “Baitarani has crossed danger level only at Akhuapada.”
He added, “In the incessant rains for the last three days, we have recorded highest rainfall of 622 mm at Burla. Today we expect that by 3 pm, 7-8 lakh cusecs of water will flow through Munduli into Mahanadi. Hence, a low-medium flood situation will be there and we hope it will be confined to the riverbed.”
“We have planned to open the gate of Hirakud Dam tomorrow at 11 am. It has been done in the wake of the swelling Tel river and the torrential rains. We’ll try to retain 6 lakh cusecs of water at Cuttack. Now the water level of Hirakud reservoir is near to 616 feet. We expect the level will rise about 618 feet. We’ll try to reduce it to 610 feet in 3-4 days. Accordingly, the gate operation of Hirakud Dam will effected. Flood water from Hirakud Dam reaches Cuttack after 36 hours. The present flood situation in Cuttack will be completely over by then,” he stated.
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