ROURKELA: It is said the Steel City, located on an upper elevation and encircled by Durgapur hill ranges, is naturally protected from flood and cyclone. But, the opinion has changed after low-lying areas on the outskirts of the city on downstream of Brahmani river got flooded.
During monsoon, residents of these areas constantly live in fear of flash floods. On Thursday, the Brahmani was flowing three metres above the danger mark for several hours and flooded the low-lying areas. The flood in the Brahmani has been attributed to abrupt release of flood water from its tributary rivers Sankh and Koel flowing from Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. There was absence of sharing of information on flood and also lack of coordination among the authorities in Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
The Koel river, originating from Jharkhand, enters Bisra block of Sundargarh district from the east and meets the Sankh river at Vedvyas in Rourkela to form the Brahmani. The Sankh river, originating in Jharkhand, flows to Chhattisgarh and returns to Jharkhand before entering the district through Kuanrmunda block from the north. Mandira dam of RSP is located on the Sankh river, about 30 km from Rourkela.
Sources in Water Resources department said they have no information about dams located on Koel and Sankh in the neighbouring States. There is also no effort to share information on possibilities of flood, they said.
The flood situation in these rivers is monitored only during monsoon and it is entirely based on personal observations by the officials of the department and CWC in Rourkela. The Brahmani Sub-Divisional Office of CWC in Rourkela has three gauge stations in these rivers, but it does not share information with the department or administrative officials at Rourkela.
RSP sources said the dam’s water level dangerously touched 689 feet against the danger mark of 683 due to huge flow of flood water from the Sankh river.
They claimed that they received information about flood water of Sankh entering the dam from Chhattisgarh and if they had prior information, they would have reacted early to release water to keep the Brahmani’s flow at manageable level.