State working on Rs 700 crore project to mitigate flood fury

Bhubaneswar: With frequent floods ravaging the state, Odisha government today said it was implementing a Rs 700 crore project to mitigate flood fury on a long term basis.
 
"We have set a target of increasing heights and length of embankments of all major rivers within two years. About Rs 700 crore will be spent in strengthening river embankments," said water resources secretary Suresh Mohapatra.
 
He gave this information at the State Level Natural Calamity Committee meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and attended by leader of opposition Bhupinder Singh of Congress besides all MPs.
 
Stating that flood in major rivers like Mahanadi, Brahmani and Baitarani cause massive damage to life and properties could be controlled, he said these rivers could carry about 14 lakh to 15 cusec flood water after repair works were completed.
 
He said flood in Mahanadi, Baitarani and Brahmani delta areas had caused massive damage in 2011 floods. "We are taking 2011 flood as bench mark while increasing height of river embankments," he said.
 
After reviewing the state government's preparedness, Chief Minister Patnaik said "I am confident that we can face any eventuality taking our preparedness into consideration. We can meet the situation promptly and effectively." 
 
Stating that some districts in western and southern region of the state have already experienced floods due to early onset of monsoon, Patnaik issued directions to district authorities to remain alert for next three months.
 
Revenue and Disaster Minister S N Patro said the breaches on 234 embankments caused in 2011 floods and 56 breaches in 2012 have been repaired.
 
The state government has already identified 310 places on river embankments as sensitive and 35 places as highly sensitive and vulnerable to breaches during floods, Patro said adding adequate steps are being taken to avoid any such incidents in future.
 
Patro said instructions have been issued to store adequate food materials, medicines, particularly anti-venom injections and boats to meet flood situation in future.
 
Leader of Opposition Singh, however, criticised the state government for failing to control floods even as it claimed fool-proof arrangements every time.