Flood water of Mahanadi submerges several villages in Odisha

Several villages in coastal Odisha were inundated by flood waters of the Mahanadi on Sunday with over 10 lakh cusecs flowing through Mundali barrage near Cuttack, officials said.

Cusec is a unit of flow, especially of water, equal to one cubic foot per second. One cusec denotes a flow rate of 28.317 litres per second, so 10 lakh cusecs amount to a flow of 28,300,000 litres of water per second.

Noting that an inflow of even 7 lakh cusecs (19,821,900 litres per second) at Mundali usually triggers flood in the Daya and the Bhargavi, the two tributaries of the Mahanadi, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Jena said, the flood waters have submerged many villages in Kanasa and Delang blocks in Puri district causing two breaches in the embankments of the Daya and another in the Rajua in Khurda district.

The breaches will be repaired immediately after the flood water recedes, he said.

The swollen river also flooded villages in Banki area of Cuttack district and affected road communication.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is slated to visit the flood-affected areas and hold a meeting with senior officials about the situation on Monday, Chief Secretary A K Tripathy said.

All arrangements for rescue and relief operations have been made as per the direction of the chief minister and adequate number of NDRF, ODRAF and Fire Service teams have been deployed in flood-hit areas, Tripathy said.

Mentioning that the high level of water flow in the Mahanadi is likely to continue till Monday, the chief secretary said, officials and senior engineers of the water resources department have been keeping a close watch on the situation in different districts, including Kendrapara, Puri, Jagatsinghpur and Cuttack.

Meanwhile, the Meteorological Centre here has forecast fresh rainfall of varying intensity in different parts of the state, including Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Rayagada, Gajapati, Malkangiri and Jajpur districts over the next three days.

In view of the forecast, the SRC has asked the district collectors to closely monitor the situation and take appropriate action.

Mahanadi, the biggest river in Odisha, is in spate following heavy downpour in its upper catchment areas in neighbouring Chhattisgarh three days ago and flow of huge volume of water into the Hirakud reservoir, built across the river near Sambalpur in west Odisha.

Forty-three of the 64 sluice gates of the Hirakud Dam have been opened by the authorities to discharge excess water from the reservoir which was receiving huge inflow from upstream.

"Over 7.65 lakh cusecs of water (21,662,505 litres per second) is now being discharged from the Hirakud Dam," Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Jena told reporters after a high-level meeting.

The water level at Hirakud Dam stood at 628 feet on Sunday noon as against the full reservoir level of 630 feet, the SRC said.

"Excess water is being discharged from the reservoir due to the huge inflow and rise in water level," he said.

As a result, the volume of the river water flowing through Mundali near Cuttack has touched 10.02 lakh cusecs (28,883,340 litres per second) on Sunday, he said.

"Flow of water from Chhattisgarh has now dropped.

Inflow into the Hirakud reservoir which had shot up to 9.5 lakh cusecs (26,901,150 litres per second) has come down to around 8 lakh cusecs(22,653,600 litres per second)," the SRC said.

Mentioning that the peak inflow through the Mundali barrage is likely to continue till Monday, the SRC said, the flood waters are expected to reach Kendrapara, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts later in the day.

The flood in the Mahanadi river system is likely to affect coastal districts including Puri, Khurda, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Nayagarh and parts of Kendrapara, Chief Engineer of Water Resources department, Jyotirmanya Rath said.

Meanwhile, the water level of the Mahanadi stood at 26.86 metre at Naraj near Cuttack as against the danger mark of 26.41 metre on Saturday evening.

Principal Secretary, Water Resources Department, Anu Garg said that engineers are keeping a close watch and carrying out patrolling in vulnerable areas.

The state government has deployed 15 units of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), 14 teams of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and 119 teams of Fire Service in the low-lying areas for carrying out rescue and relief operations, the SRC said.

Evacuation will be undertaken in vulnerable areas to shift people to shelter centres where cooked food will be provided.

Collectors of all the districts in the Mahanadi delta region have been alerted to remain prepared to deal with the situation, the SRC said.

In Jagatsinghpur district, the water level of two tributaries of the Mahanadi has crossed the danger mark.

While the water level of the Devi at Daleighai stood at 57.10 feet against the danger mark of 57 feet, it was 14.40 feet against the danger mark of 13 feet at Machhagaon.

The water level of the Paika river was also rising, officials said.

However, the flood situation created by the Subarnarekha, Budhabalanga, Baitarani and the Brahmani in 12 of the states 30 districts showed signs of improvement with water level gradually receding in many places, the SRC said.

The four rivers had breached at least 32 locations, he said.

The recent rain and flood in the state claimed at least 17 lives, besides affecting over 14.32 lakh people in 3,256 villages and 21 urban areas of 20 districts, the SRC said.

As per preliminary assessment, as many as 10,382 houses have been damaged and 1,68,904 crop area affected due to the flood which left over 2.65 lakh people marooned in 340 villages.

Formation of a low pressure area over the Bay of Bengal had triggered heavy downpour in Odisha since Monday.

This was the fifth low-pressure area formed over the Bay of Bengal this month causing heavy rainfall in the state.

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