SAMBALPUR: Fresh flood struck Sambalpur on Wednesday with the Hirakud dam authorities opening 50 sluice gates to release rain water being pumped in by Chhattisgarh following heavy rain upstream. Water level in the dam at 6 pm stood at 628.21 feet against the full reservoir level of 630 feet.
While many new areas like Chandan Nagar, Mandalia, Durgapali, Kanijuri, Krishnanagar, Talbhatapada, Badabazaar have been inundated, water entered Kulutkani, Putibandh, Commissioner’s Colony and parts of Charbhati, which were already inundated since Tuesday morning.
The suburbs of Sambalpur, including Malti Gunderpur, were also deluged for the second day with Maltijoar failing to accommodate the backwaters of Mahanadi. The backwaters have snapped communication on Ring Road that connects Sambalpur town with NH-6 and Sambalpur-Sonepur State Highway-15. Situation in Sambalpur town may aggravate with the rising water level in Mahanadi forcing the district administration to close the sluice gates at Balibandha and Binakhandi, to prevent backwaters from flowing into the town.
While it has stopped water accumulated in the town from flowing out, the stagnant water threatens to flow back with one of the six discharge gates in Binakhandi remaining partially open in the absence of regular maintenance. Sand bags have been put at Binakhandi.
Sambalpur Collector Balwant Singh said apart from 33 relief camps already under operation from Sunday, 11 new camps have been opened for those affected by the backwaters of Mahanadi and 4,000 people can be accommodated. People are being evacuated and will be provided with cooked food.
Two water pumps of 20 HP have been installed at Balibandha and 10 HP water pumps were brought in for Binakhandi to clear the waterlogged areas.
The district administration is geared up to meet all eventualities. Five fire brigade teams and two ODRAF teams have been deployed to rescue people from affected areas. Release of water through the 50 gates will continue till further orders and the administration is keeping a close watch on it, the Collector said.