JEYPORE: Members of 96 Pani Panchayats under Upper Kolab irrigation project have demanded an immediate inquiry into the sudden release of water from the dam which caused floods in Malkangiri and Koraput districts recently.the Upper Kolab authorities had opened two sluice gates on Saturday when the water level was about 857 metres while its capacity is 858 metres. Apprehending more inflow of water from the catchment areas, the project officials had opened the gates for a day. As a result, low-lying areas were inundated.
They alleged that sudden release of water from the dam was a cause for the floods in the districts and criticised the officials for allegedly ignoring their repeated requests for controlled release of water from the reservoir. The release of water in Saveri and Kolab rivers had aggravated the flood situation in Kalimela and Malkangiri areas on Saturday. Sources said while the senior engineers, who are suppose to monitor the water level of the dam, have been on strike since long, the Chief Construction Engineer was also absent. They alleged that the Executive Engineer of Kolab released the water following a direction from the Superintending Engineer office of Jeypore MI Division, who was in-charge of the Chief Construction Engineer of the Upper Kolab project.
Members of Pani Panchayats of Kundra, Jeypore, Kotpad and Borrigumma areas also demanded a probe into the matter. Upper Kolab project engineer P R Bhotra said the sluice gates were opened considering the heavy rainfall.