Flood preparedness: Weak river embankments in 20 districts of Odisha

Bhubaneswar: The Engineer-in-Chief of Water Resources has submitted a report to the Principal Secretary of the Water Resource Department furnishing the verification detail of weak river embankments across 20 districts of Odisha, in view of the ongoing rainy season.
Engineer-in-Chief of Water Resources Jyotirmaya Rath informed, a total of 7,470 km-long river embankments sprawl across Odisha. Senior departmental officers along with district administration officers have jointly inspected the embankments from April to June.
“We have identified weak points in embankments at 49 places and have furnished the same in the letter,” Rath said.
Amid flood crisis in northeast and northern plains of the country, Rath said that State government is fully prepared to tackle any such eventualities.
“We have also set up control rooms in different levels in May. The department has reviewed the conditions in EIC level, principal secretary and ministerial level. Natural Disaster management committee has also reviewed the situation.”
“Sand bags, bamboos and other materials needed to strengthen locations with weak embankments have been readied along with setting up of watch towers. Reservoir, barrage operation has also been checked in a mock drill and sluice gates in various reservoirs of the State have also been inspected as part of the preparations,” added Rath.
“We are also in touch with IMD and the SRC to keep us abreast about the regional and localised weather conditions. Water level in reservoir and amount of discharged water is also being tracked every day. We are well-prepared for any flood-like situation in the State,” stated Rath.
As stated in the letter, vulnerable points have been identified in river embankments in Nayagarh, Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada, Keonjhar, Bhadrak, Boudh, Phulbani, Kendrapara, Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Angul, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Mayurbhanj, Balasore, Sonepur, Kalahandi, Koraput and Malkangiri. 49 at risk points have been identified in these 20 districts of which Puri alone accounts for 8 vulnerable points.
Meanwhile as several districts of the State continue to face acute deficit in rainfall this monsoon, Water Resources department has said that adequate water is currently available in reservoirs for sufficient irrigation.
Former chief engineer (Water Resources), Ramesh Chandra Tripathy said, “For moderation of flood, control channelisation is essential. The reservoirs are in good condition and can absorb flood water. River embankments are not extremely damaged, but the embankments with vulnerable points can be repaired immediately and be given support with sand bags and bamboos. We don’t expect any harsh situation ahead, however as the department is facing troubles amid the COVID restrictions, it is a concern.”

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