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Odishatv Bureau

Malkangiri: Motor launch service in the cut-off areas of Malkangiri is likely to be affected even more with water levels continuing to decline in Balimela water reservoir as authorities have failed to shut its defunct emergency gate.

Water level of the reservoir has decreased to 1,459 ft from 1,516 ft as 3,000 cusec water per sec is getting released to Andhra Pradesh through the defunct emergency gate. Authorities of the reservoir have failed to shut the emergency gate which was opened for repair purposes three months back, thereby affecting movement of motor launches which serve the cut-off areas.

More than 30,000 people residing in the cut-off areas depend on launch service as their only mode of commute. However, due to decline in water level, launch services have already been affected to Sindhiput, Bihanagudi, Badriguda, Jantri, Guguli, Totaguda and Titalapadar.

Villagers of the cut-off areas are now being forced to walk for 10 to 15 kms and are also facing difficulties in transporting goods from one place to another.

Sadhu Hantala, a resident of cut-off area, said, "Motor launches are getting stuck either in trees or small hillocks inside the reservoir due to a decline in water level."

Expressing similar views, launch driver Ram Nayak said, "As water levels have receded significantly and the service cannot continue in Balimela reservoir."

If the situation persists, residents of more than 150 villages are likely to be affected, informed sources.

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