Jamshedpur in Jharkhand and low-lying areas of West Midnapore district in West Bengal were staring at the grim prospect of flash floods, as Odisha opened four gates of Byangbil and Kharkai dams on Tuesday morning following continuous rains there for the last few days.
For a change, the Jharkhand water resource department officials duly alerted the West Midnapore authorities in advance this morning.
Official sources said that about 500 cumec (one cubic meter per second) of water was gushing towards the steel city and beyond since three more gates at Byangbil and Kharkai dams were opened at around 11 am Tuesday. Another gate at Byangbil was opened at around 7.30 pm on Monday.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday last had accused the Jharkhand and the Central governments of not informing her government in advance about releasing water from Subarnarekha, leading to floods in West Midnapore.
The waters from Odisha started reaching Jamshedpur between 4 and 5 pm on Tuesday with Kharkai flowing at 131.19 metres, 2.19 metres above danger level, and Subarnarekha flowing at 120.22 metres, 1.8 metres under danger level, at the time of filing this report.
Umesh Bhagat, Subarnarekha Multi-purpose Project (SMP) superintendent engineer (SE) and in-charge of 13-member flood cell here, told HT that they’ve duly informed their West Bengal counterparts of the imminent threat of floods this morning. “We’ve told them about Odisha opening up the dam gates,” said Bhagat.
“We’ve been alerted by Jharkhand officials. We’ve taken the precautionary measures and are ready to evacuate people if need be,” Shubhendra Gupta, West Midnapore district magistrate (DM) told HT this evening. “Villages in six blocks in low-lying and spill areas are likely to be inundated after midnight or early morning Wednesday,” SK Laha, SE (Barrage, West Midnapore) told HT.
Vijay Kumar Mitra, executive engineer of Bynagbil Dam (Mayurbhannj district in Odisha), however, said that rain had slowed down in Odisha and they expected to shut some of the gates by midnight or early morning Wednesday.
Meanwhile, East Singhbhum district administration has identified relief camps for evacuating people from low-lying areas, deputed magistrates and requisitioned one 35-seater motorboat from civil defense wing here apart from two rafts and two paddle boats from Tata Steel for relief work.
“Announcements are also being made in areas likely to be affected,” Jamshedpur ADC Ganseh Kumar said.