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Drop by drop, fear & filth grow
Waterlogging scare grips twin cities

Bhubaneswar/Cuttack, Aug 3: The Indian Meteorological Department has forecast heavy rainfall in the next 48 hours and this has panicked those living in low-lying areas of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.

Normal life was affected following the downpour that continued to lash the cities for the second consecutive day on Sunday.

The only respite was that no locality was inundated as the weather had improved in the afternoon.

In Cuttack, residents at Sutahat, Patapole, Sikharpur, Pithapur, Meria Bazar have started to shift their household goods as they apprehended inundation if the heavy rain forecast came true.

Incessant rain and flooding in Sambalpur with nearly 489.7 mm in last 33 hours and release of water into the Mahanadi river from Hirakud reservoir have alarmed Cuttack residents as flood in the Mahanadi river system may affect people in the city’s low-lying areas.

“The retaining wall of the main storm water channel No. 1 near Kesharpur has collapsed, while no step has been taken by the officials of Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) for its repairs. We fear there will be waterlogging as waste water will spill on to the roads and enter our homes in case of heavy rain,” said Mohd Qatar Ali, a resident of Kesharpur.

Ali said that as both the Mahanadi and the Kathajodi are now in spate owing to the release of excess floodwater from the Hirakud reservoir, there might be problems in the discharge of waste and rainwater from the city.

Civic officials in Cuttack, however, claimed that no incident of inundation has been reported in the last 24 hours, while adequate measures had been taken to deal with the waterlogging conditions in the city.

Nearly, 170 motor pumps have been installed at different places, while focus has been given on clearance of accumulated water from several low-lying areas, a senior official said.

Director of Regional Meteorological Centre Sarat Chandra Sahoo said: “The low-pressure near the coast of Bengal has induced rainfall all over the state that is mainly felt over north-eastern and north-western pockets of Odisha. In the twin cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, it will rain for another 48 hours.”

In the state capital region though, the rainfall during the last 33 hours has been 23.9mm and the continuous drizzling kept most people indoors.

“The rainy day like condition for last two days has affected my business. If it continues, then I would suffer major loss,’’ said grocery shop owner Babuli Swain.

People in the low-lying areas in the city such as Chakeisiani, Bomikhal, Laxmisagar, Brahmeswar Bagh, Bhimatangi, Baramunda, Pandav Nagar and Nayapalli are living in fear of inundation because of the forecast of more rain.

The emergency team of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation has been told to remain on alert with two excavators and motor pumps.

“We have asked every ward officer to report incidents of waterlogging immediately so that if needed the civic staff can be sent to manage the situation,’’ said mayor Ananta Narayan Jena.