Surging waters of mighty Mahanadi river hit the downstream belt engulfing vast areas aggravating the flood situation in Orissa with other major rivers in the state also in spate.
The state government sounded a high alert in four coastal district of Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Puri in view of the flood which has claimed nine lives so far.
Evacuation operation has been launched on a big scale to shift the residents of low-lying areas to the safer places.
As many as 26 gates of the Hirakud dam on Mahanadi have been opened for quick discharge of water as the level in the reservoir reached its full capacity of 630 feet, official sources said.
Inflow of water into the reservoir was recorded at 4.6 lakh cusec this morning, while an equal volume was being drained out through the sluice gates.
With heavy release of water from the Hirakud reservoir, the flow of water at Khairmal was recorded at 14.38 lakh cusec while it was 13.66 lakh at Munduli this morning, they said. A major flood in Mahanadi was thereby threatening the delta region as huge volume of water inundated the plains.
Mahanadi waters have already inundated several low-lying areas of Cuttack district including Banki, Athgarh and Narsinghpur, besides Athamallick, Boudh and Sonepur.
The embankments of the Mahanadi and its branches criss-crossing the coastal deltaic plains have a capacity to contain about 12 lakh cusecs of water, a senior official said.
The present flood situation in Mahanadi was similar to the one faced in 2001 when 14.8 lakh cusec of water passed through the plains. Earlier in 1982, 15.80 lakh cusec of water had wreaked havoc in the area.