Sharmili Mallick

At a time when the water level of Subarnarekha and Jalaka rivers in Balasore district has been continuously rising leading to breaches in several places, the Odisha Water Recourses Department on Thursday said that it is closely monitoring the situation and assured to take up restoration operations as soon as the water recedes.

Department Engineer-in-Chief Dhiren Samal said, “We have received reports of four breaches in Jalaka River near Rasagobindapur in Mayurbhanj district. All chief and junior engineers and other officials are closely monitoring the water-level situation. Sandbags, wood, bamboos etc required to fill the breaches have been kept ready and as soon as the water recedes, the repair and restoration works of the embankment will be taken up immediately,” Samal added.

On the flood situation in the district, Samal said, “The meteorological department has predicted moderate rainfall in the upper catchment areas of the Jalaka river on September 24 and 25. Till last reports came in, water level in Sunarnarekha was below the danger mark near Rajghat. However, it might cross the warning level by evening if rainfall continues in its upper stream,” said the Engineer-in-Chief.

Samal said that the water resources department has not received any reports regarding the flooding of any village due to the rise in the water level of the two rivers.

On the Hirakud Dam situation, Samal said, “There are certain guidelines for the operation of the reservoir. Its gates cannot be opened and then closed within three-four hours time. The engineers are monitoring the water-level and opening or closing the reservoir openings as and when the situation necessitates,” he added.

On the other hand, as many as 20 villages of five panchayats under Baliapal block of Balasore district have been submerged after the floodwater surged into low lying areas of Subarnarekha River. The river was flowing over 9.50 metres near Rajghat at 7 am today against the danger mark of 9.45 metres.

As the water was flowing on the main road, the villages have remained cut off from the mainland and hundreds of hectares of farmland have remained marooned, said reports.

Residents of Baliapal, Bishnupur, Jamkunda and Madhupura panchayats in Baliapal block have been severely affected due to the flood situation. Water has also inundated several locations under Gabagaon, Kusuda, Nahara and Nachinda panchayats under Bhogarai block of the district.

The district administration has meanwhile engaged 10 boats for rescue operation and movement of people to safer places, added reports.

Jalaka River was also flowing over the danger level of 6.64 metres near Mathani leading to inundation of several roads which have severely affected communication in the region. The floodwater from Jalaka has entered 50 villages of 12 panchayats of the district.