Bhubaneswar, Aug 31 (PTI) As the flood situation across Odisha remained unchanged despite reduced water discharge in river Mahanadi from Hirakud reservoir, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Monday announced assistance for flood victims.
Though the condition in river Subarnarekha, Budhabalang, Jalaka, Baitarani and Brahmani has improved since Sunday, the flood fury remained unabated in Mahanadi river system, officials said.
The on-going floods have affected people in 3,990 villages and 21 urban local bodies areas in 20 districts of Odisha.
There had been as many as 36 breaches in different river embankments in five districts inundating several villages, the officials said, adding the floods have so far claimed 17 lives.
With no fresh discharge of water in the Mahanadi in the absence of rainfall in the upper catchment areas, the flood waters are now being released through 32 sluice gates of Hirakud dam in place of 40 sluice gates in the morning.
'As the inflow to the reservoir from Chhattishgarh side came down to 2,49,600 cusec at 6 pm from 4,94,094 cusec 12 hours ago, we have closed eight more gates. Now waters are released through 32 dates,' said a senior official in the water resources department.
However,water flow in river Mahanadi at Mundali near Cuttack city remained unchanged at 10,26,218 cusec since 9am Monday.
'We expect the same volume of water will pass at Mundali for another 12 hours,' said Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Jena.
He, however, said that the Mahanadis tributaries like Daya, Bhargavi and Rajua have caused inundation in certain parts of Puri, Khurda and Cuttack districts Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who conducted an aerial survey of the flood situation said that the calamity has affected many parts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack, Puri and Khurda districts.
While many villages still remained marooned, a large part of cultivable land is submerged in the flood waters besides damaging houses, roads and disrupted communications.
Many public infrastructures have also been affected in the floods, the chief minister said.
Patnaik praised personnel of NDRF, OFRAF, Fire Service and others who have been engaged in relief and rescue operations.
'Many river embankments have been saved due to alertness of the water resources department,' an official release said, adding that the chief minister has directed for immediate restoration of communication and electricity.
The CM appealed all to adhere to the COVID norms by wearing masks and maintaining social distancing as the state is facing double challenges from COVID-19 and the floods.
Patnaik also announced a special package for the flood- hit people and said that all those displaced by the spate will be provided with cooked food/dry food as long as they are in shelter.
At least 50 kg of rice and Rs 500 will be provided immediately to the families of the severely affected / submerged villages.
This apart, one polythene sheet will be provided to each eligible family whose house has been demolished, Patnaik announced, adding that the demolition assistance will be provided in accordance with SDRF (state disaster response fund) rules.
The district attorneys office will assess the damage within 15 days and provide assistance over the next week.
Under the SDRF rules, the victim will be provided with clothing and utensils while dairy farmers will be provided with food aid under the rules.
Free treatment and vaccination will be provided to animals and birds affected in the flood, the package mentioned adding that free veterinary camps will be set up in the affected areas to treat the animals and birds.
Patnaik said all other affected districts will be provided assistance under the SDRF Act.
Meanwhile, after a brief dry spell of three days, the IMD Monday forecast rainfall from Tuesday till September 3.
Keeping in view the ensuing rainfall prediction made by the IMD, the state relief commissioner asked all the district collectors to closely monitor the situation and keep administrative machinery in readiness to meet any eventuality.
The collectors were also told to keep the state government informed about the developments taking place in their respective districts in the wake of ensuing rainfall.
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