BHUBANESWAR: A major flood looms large in Mahanadi as the catchment areas of the river and its tributaries continued to experience heavy rainfall for the last three days under the influence of a low pressure in the Bay of Bengal.
Even as eight gates of Hirakud dam were closed on Monday afternoon as part of flood control measures, Mahanadi's tributaries - Tel and Indravati have been continuously feeding the system in addition to the water released from the reservoir. The inflow of water to the dam increased to 8.5 lakh cusec against an expected 7 lakh cusec.
The floodwater is now being released through 26 gates as against 34 gates earlier. The reopening of gates can not be ruled out as rain is yet to stop in the catchment areas and the forecast is that the region is expected to experience more rains in the coming days.
Development Commissioner and Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena said anticipating a major flood in Mahanadi river, it was decided to close eight gates of Hirakud dam till 9 am on Tuesday.
"Though there is no significant rainfall in the lower catchment areas of Mahanadi, its upper catchment areas are experiencing rainfall. However, the closing down of gates of Hirakud dam will lead to reduction of 1.2 lakh cusec of water. Now over 10 lakh cusec or water is passing through Mundali,” said Jena.
Tel and Indravati are in spate following torrential rains in Sonepur, Boudh, Nabarangpur, Balangir and Kalahandi adding to the woes. The maximum 368 mm rainfall was recorded at Thuamul Rampur, 157 mm in Bhawanipatna, 218.2 mm in Kalampur, 182 mm in Jaipatna, 144 mm in Junagarh and 182.4 mm in Lanjigarh.
Similarly, Dabugaon block in Nabarangpur received 241 mm, followed by 293 mn in Kotpad, 212 mm in Baliguda and Kandhamal' Nuagaon block experienced 235 mm rainfall.
The State government has sounded flood alert in Puri, Khurda, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Sonepur, Nayagarh and Boudh districts and asked Collectors to remain prepared for relief and rehabilitation activities. Twenty fire fighting teams and 12 disaster rapid action forces have been deployed in these districts.
Meanwhile, several villages under Athagarh and Banki blocks in Cuttack district, Kakatpur in Puri and Kalampur block in Kalahandi have been inundated. Kani river, a tributary of Baitarani, breached embankment near Brahmacharipatna under Jajpur's inundating nearby villages.