Amidst drum beats, sounds of conch shells and siren, the flood water received by Hirakud Dam from upstream, first of the season, was released at 3.45 pm on Tuesday. The water level in the dam stood at 605.35 feet.
But the first release itself drew criticism. The authorities said it was released as per rule curve __ the usual calculation of storage level and water to be let out. Experts called it a ‘premature decision’ and questioned the need to release water when there is monsoon deficit across the country. Moreover, they argued, the rule curve has become obsolete with wide variations in the rainfall pattern.
The decision may have a bearing on the State under the present scenario. Experts expressed apprehension that it may end up as a wrong decision. Pointing out that rain recorded upstream of Hirakud dam was barely 3.76 mm, they said with 80 per cent of the catchment area of the reservoir located in Chhattisgarh, the dam authorities could have waited for some more time instead of sticking to the rule curve, which proved disastrous last year. “The action seems to be defensive. The State Government wants to send out a message that all is well. They can continue with giving water to industries, who draw water even below 595 feet, which is prohibited,” an expert claimed. Hundreds of visitors witnessed the annual event. Roaring water gushing out of the gate left the visitors enthralled.The dam has 64 sluice gates, 24 on the right side and 40 on the left side. Each sluice gate has the capacity to discharge 16,440 cusec water when the reservoir level is 630 feet __ termed as danger level. There are 34 crest gates with a potential to discharge 16,238 cusec water each at 630 feet water level.