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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

In a bid to release excess floodwater due to heavy rainfall, the authorities of Hirakud Dam in Sambalpur have decided to open as many as six sluice gates at 5 pm on Tuesday.

At present, the water level of Hirakud stands at 626.27 ft against its storage capacity of 630 ft.  While the upstream areas of the dam have witnessed 46.46 mm rain the downstream areas have experienced 122.94 mm rain in the last two days. Around 1.92 lakh cusecs of water is entering the dam per second.

“Considering the situation at the upper and lower catchment areas, so far we have taken a decision to open six sluice gates. The gates will be opened in different phases starting from 5 am today to release excess floodwater from the reservoir,” said Ananda Chandra Sahu, the Chief Engineer of the dam.

However, the authorities of the dam assured that the situation is not alarming and it will not create any flood situation in the Mahanadi downstream areas.

“We have set a target to release only around 1 lakh cusec of water. The reservoir had a cushion of around three ft. We are hopeful that much of the excess rainwater will be absorbed. We will release only half of the flood water entering the reservoir. So, there will be hardly any probability of flood-like situation in the downstream areas,” said Sahu.

The depression over the Bay of Bengal may trigger some more rain today and tomorrow. But according to the prediction by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) the upper catchment areas will experience less amount of rain. So, there is no need to press the panic button, said Sahu.

“We will take stock of the situation and calculate the expected water level in the reservoir tomorrow and decision regarding opening of more sluice gates will be taken accordingly,” said Sahu.

(Edited by Rashmi Ranjan Mohanty)

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