Tag Archives: Hirakud dam

22 Dead, 9 Missing as Boat Capsizes in Hirakud Reservoir

At least 22 people died and 9 others were reportedly missing after a country boat carrying picnickers from Sambalpur town capsized due to overloading in Hirakud Dam Reservoir (HDR) here on Sunday afternoon.

The deceased have been identified as Anita Singh (40), Seema Agrawal (38), Usha Agrawal (35), Santosh Kumari (50), Suchismita Jena (30), Harish Agrawal (10), Paviz Sharma (38), Purba Sharma (18) and Tania Sharma (15). Some of the bodies are yet to be identified.

Reports said that members of Lions Club, Sambalpur had gone for picnic to Marang Dungri under Tilia Gram Panchayat in Lakhanpur block of Jharsuguda district after crossing the HDR in a motor fitted county boat on Sunday morning. They boarded the boat at Sonutikra Ghat, about 14 kilometers from Sambalpur town under Sason police limits.

The incident occurred when at least 70 members of Lions Club besides 50 regular passengers along with about 30 motorcycles were returning back to Sonutikra Ghat after enjoying the picnic at Marang Dungri. The picnickers boarded the boat at around 4.15 PM and after moving about 15 minutes, water started gushing into the boat from its base. The boat was stopped due to some technical snag and started capsizing in the middle of the HDR.

Rescue teams along with fire brigade and police personnel have rushed to the spot. About 80 persons have been rescued so far. ODRAF team has also reached the spot for the rescue operation. Sambalpur Sadar Sub Collector Surendra Panda had confirmed death of 11 persons and said that still at least 20 persons were missing.

Chief Minster Naveen Patnaik expressed his grief over the tragic incident and asked the SRC and Sambalpur District Collector to expedite the rescue operation.

Hirakud Reservoir water level keeps on increasing

Hirakud Reservoir water level keeps on increasingWater level keeps on increasing day by day in Hirakud Reservoir. The maximum capacity of water level of the reservoir is 630ft, and yesterday night it was recorded as 625.56 ft., it is very nearer to the reservoir maximum capacity. It was observed that approximately 1,15,178 cusecs of water is entering to the reservoir and very less amount approximately 31,787 cusecs of water is draining. So it is a dangerous situation as it is only 5 ft. to overflow the reservoir.

Sambalpur administration gears up for flood

Apprehensive of a flood-like situation following release of water from Hirakud dam, Sambalpur administration has taken a number of steps to meet any eventuality.

Collector Balwant Singh said district administration has divided the flood prone areas of the town into 12 portions. Those are Bhatra, Dhanupali, Sunapali, Pensionpara, Sakhigopinathpara, Golebazar, Badbazar, Talbhatapara, Durgapali, Khetrajpur, Baraipali and Danipali of the town.

Areas where 14 temporary shelters will come up have also been identified. It has been decided that temporary shelters will be opened at Dhanupali Girls High School, Bhutapara Urdu School, Ranisati Mandir, Kalyan Mandap near Jail chhack, Ashraya, Sindhi Dharmsharla in AN Guha Lane, Marwari Dharmashala in Golebazar, Municipal Girls High School, Samaleswari College, Durgapali Upper Primary School, Marwari Dharamshala of Khetrajpur, Guru Nanak Public School and Kendriya Vidyalaya, all within the town limits, to accommodate flood-affected people.

District Emergency Officer Nihar Ranjan Dash said whenever there is sudden or excess release of water from Hirakud dam, water goes into internal sewage system from river Mahanadi resulting in deluge in low lying areas.

Dash said officials of the Municipality have been asked to ensure that all the drains in the town are cleaned within three days to allow free flow of water.

Water Rights activist Ranjan Panda faults Odisha Govt for suppplying water from Hirakud Reservoir to Industries

Water Rights activist Ranjan Panda faults Odisha Govt for supplying water from Hirakud Reservoir is toIndustries. The way they have shut down the power plant while continuing to supply water to industries is illegal, alleges Ranjan Panda, Convenor of Water Initiatives Odisha.

“Hirakud dam was originally constructed for flood control. Irrigation and power generation were incidental benefits. Providing water to industries at cost of power generation is a clear cut indication of the government’s vested tilt towards the industries”, Panda alleged further.

It is to be noted that, the dam’s power generation capacity has been drastically reduced by deliberate design, more so recently because of the favouritism towards industries. And on 17th June this year, when the dam authorities stopped releasing water for power generation, illegally, they created a history. For the first time in history of the dam, the power plant was completely stopped showing shortage of water as the reason, even though the water had not reached the dead storage limit, alleged Panda.

The dam’s Dead Storage Level of 590 feet is a stage from where irrigation and power generation should be stopped. For industries, however, the dead limit is said to be 595 feet. But, while on 17th June the storage level was about 593.75, the power supply was stopped but industries continued to draw water.

Local newspaper reports confirm that the dam authorities did an act of ‘eye wash’ by stopping water to Hindalco Industries at Hirakud on 17th June. However, the plant activities resumed in a few hours only. It is reported by the newspapers that the dam authorities had to release water to Hindalco succumbing to pressure of the Secretary, Water Resources Department of Govt. of Odisha.

Other industries also continue to draw water even as Hirakud’s water is receding and no canals could be supplied water on the stipulated date of 16th. WIO condemns such illegal and anti-people, anti-farmer act of the Water Resources Department and asks them to immediately stop water supply to industries and ensure water to irrigation canals, said Panda.

Unless the water supply to industries is stopped, irrigation will drastically suffer and conflicts in the command area will grow, warned Panda.

A dry reservoir is not merely due to scanty rainfall but also because of interceptions of Mahanadi’s flow by Chhattisgarh upstream. And despite repeated urge of Water Initiatives Odisha, the governments are not yet talking properly on managing Mahanadi in an integrated basin management approach. “The governments are only talking as knee jerk measure to reduce flood devastations and not for comprehensive and coordinated management of the entire River”, alleged Panda, adding, “such temporary and half-hearted approaches would neither reduce flood vulnerabilities during rainy season nor will solve such water scarcity situations during non-monsoon periods”.

High time the governments went for a holistic management plan of Mahanadi that is people-centric, open and transparent. Further, the governments should now admit that Mahanadi is a ‘water deficit river’ and accordingly stop giving away precious water to industries beyond a limit drawn on basis of proper ecological balance analysis keeping both present and future scenario in mind, said Panda.

Bargarh canal yet to get Hirakud water

The dry Hirakud dam reservoirThere is not enough water in the Hirakud dam reservoir for irrigation. Every year water is released from the reservoir through Sason canal, Bargarh main canal and Sambalpur distributary on June 16 for farmers to facilitate agricultural activities for the kharif crop. But with water level dropping to an alarming low of 593.65 feet, the Irrigation Department released just 200 cusecs of water into the Sason Canal on Monday. No water was released to Bargarh main canal and Samablpur distributary.

As per the working table formulated jointly by Energy Department and Water Resources Department during pre-monsoon period, the water level should be at a minimum of 595 feet.

However, with not much rain reported ever since monsoon arrived in the State, the situation at the reservoir has reached an alarming level.

In 2005, the water discharge was delayed by 12 days and for 17 days in 2006. It had triggered widespread agitation by farmers who suspected that water was being diverted to industries from the reservoir.

Subsequently, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik after a discussion with farmers declared that ‘not a single drop of water meant for irrigation would be diverted to industries’. He had even announced a package of ` 200 crore for renovation of the canal and dredging to enhance the water capacity of HDR. For the next three years – 2008, 2009 and 2010 – water was released into the canal in time due to dredging while in 2011 timely monsoon ensured smooth release of water. Last year, there was a delay in releasing water due to delay in monsoon.

Farmer leader Ashok Pradhan alleged that industries draw water from the reservoir which has led to the problem. He demanded a high-level inquiry.