Bhubaneswar, Aug. 9: The likelihood of rain due to a low-pressure over northern Bay of Bengal has got the state authorities’ worried with many villages in Puri, Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara districts remaining surrounded by floodwater.
There were also reports of inundation of fresh areas in Delanga and Kanas blocks of Puri district following a breach in the embankment of the Daya river. An added worry was the likelihood of water discharge into the sea becoming extremely slow on account of full moon tomorrow.
Weather officials warned of rain or thundershowers over parts of north and south Odisha under the influence of the low-pressure system formed over the Bay of Bengal and its neighbourhood. A few places in north Odisha were likely to experience heavy rainfall. Director of the local meteorological office Sarat Sahu said: “More rainfall is predicted in north Odisha, mainly in Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Jajpur. Rain also is likely to occur in southern Odisha.” The Met office said Baripada, the district headquarters of Mayurbhanj, received the highest rainfall of 112.4mm in the past 24 hours.
An official said they were keeping a close watch on the situation, while there were stepped-up efforts to reach relief to the people marooned in the coastal belt, mainly the districts of Puri, Kendrapara, Cuttack and Jagatsinghpur. “The discharge of water from the villages is slow though rivers have begun receding. We are trying our best to help the people,” said an official.
Special relief commissioner P.K. Mohapatra said 3.60 lakh people at 532 villages were marooned while the death toll in the floods had risen to 37. “Nearly 1.35 lakh people have taken shelter on river embankments. So far, 38 breaches have taken place in various river embankments,” said Mohapatra.
On the other hand, Hirakud dam authorities closed down more gates with water now being discharged only through 24 sluice gates. While 2.19 lakh cusecs of water was entering the reservoir, 4.04 lakh cusecs was being discharged from the dam. The water level of the dam now stood at 625.17ft against a reservoir capacity of 630ft.
Sources said the floods were likely to push up the prices of vegetables as the crop in the coastal belt had been almost completely destroyed by inundation. Already battling a shortage of potato, consumers could face a shortage of green vegetables.
Bhubaneswar and Cuttack mainly depend on vegetables produced in Banki, Athgarh, Phulnakhara, Pipili, Kanasha, Khurda and Delanga. Puri also depends on this belt for its vegetable demands. But, vegetable beds in these areas have almost been completely ruined because of the floods.
“The vegetables we cultivated have been destroyed. It will take three months to raise a fresh crop,” said Parsuram Das, 47, a farmer of Delanga in Puri district. The price of almost all vegetables, including the brinjal, has crossed the Rs 50-a-kg mark.