Tag Archives: Hirakud

Dam water rule may be revised

The state government is considering revising the rule curve (a set of guidelines) to regulate water in the Hirakud dam, official sources said on Saturday. A technical committee, constituted in the wake of alleged mismanagement of Hirakud reservoir waters leading to massive flood in the Mahanadi river in September 2011, has recommended to the state water resources department to make changes in the rule curve, which was last revised in 1988, sources said. The rule curve is a graph of water levels that is kept in mind while regulating dam waters.

“We are of the view that the rule curve should be revised keeping in view the rainfall patterns, siltation and other factors,” engineer-in-chief (water resources) P K Rout, who heads the technical panel. “We would soon refer to the Central Water Commission (CWC) to give its opinion in the matter,” he added.

The committee was formed last year on the recommendation of Governor M C Bhandare to inquire into the alleged irregularities in handling of Hirakud waters that caused the deluge in Mahanadi and its tributaries in September. A section of the civil society had also raised objections to the manner in which the water of Hirakud was managed and sought that the rule curve be revisited. The Opposition Congress and BJP had described the flood as “manmade” and demanded a CWC probe into the alleged wrongs in regulating the inflow and outflow of water into Hirakud, resulting in the flood.

In an attempt to avoid any such controversy this year, senior engineers of Odisha and Chhattisgarh discussed about water management in Mahanadi at Burla in Sambalpur on Friday. “We requested our Chhattisgarh counterparts to share with us information on release of water from their dams and reports of their rain gauge stations on the upstream of Mahanadi in quick time so that we could make our preparations. They agreed to do so,” said engineer-in-chief (planning and design) Baidhar Panda, who headed the Odisha delegation. “As Mahanadi originates in Chhattisgarh and a major part of its flows in that state, we are dependent on information from our neighbouring state to control flood in our side,” he added.

Hirakud stops business houses from tapping into dam water

The Hirakud dam authorities have asked industrial houses in Jharsuguda and Sambalpur districts to stop drawing water from the reservoir in view of water scarcity. Sending notices to at least 10 major industrial houses, the dam authorities requested them to make arrangement of water on their own till there is an increase in the reservoir level.

The water level of the reservoir went down to 594.97 feet on Wednesday and if there is no rain in the catchment area in a day or two, the level would soon go down to the “dead level” of 590 feet. Farmers of the region, too, expressed deep concern over the situation as water scarcity in the reservoir has affected agriculture. Water scarcity has reportedly forced the dam authority to reduce discharge of canal water. This has also affected power generation in Burla and Chipilima power stations. However, the dam authority denied the allegation saying everything is well under control and a rise in the water level is expected soon because of rain in the upstream of Mahanadi.

“We have asked the industrial houses to stop taking water from the reservoir as the water level has gone down bellow 595 feet. However, discharge of canal water is still unaffected,” executive engineer of the Hirakud dam project R K Panda said on Thursday. He informed that the industries that have been asked to stop taking water from Hirakud are IB Thermal, SMC Hirma, BIT, Action Ispat, Vedanta, Sterelite Energy and Ind-Barath of Jharsuguda district and Bhusan Steel and Power, Shyam Metalics and Biraj steel of Sambalpur district.

According to Panda, 38.94 mm rainfall has been recorded in the upstream and 55.40 mm in the downstream of Mahanadi on Thursday.

Dam experts, on the other hand, apprehended severe problems ahead because of the sharing of dam water with industrial houses. They feel that power generation and irrigation have been drastically affected owing to water sharing. “Power generation has been definitely affected because of water scarcity in the reservoir. Earlier the power house produced more than 1200 million units of power in a year, but now, it has come down to below 1000 MU. The dam record shows last year a little over 679 million unit power was generated,” the former managing director of OHPC, Kanunakar Supakar, said.

Rice destroyed in Hirakud FCI godown fire

Rice worth a few lakhs was gutted in the third house of FCI godown at Hirakud early on Saturday morning. Fire-fighters brought the fire control thus preventing it from spreading to other godowns. Though the exact reason behind the fire is yet to be ascertained, officials suspect it to be a short circuit.

“We rushed to the spot and brought the fire under control with the help of fire personnel from Burla. We are yet to ascertain the reason for the fire,” a  senior police official of the district said. The FCI godown at Hirakud is one of the important storage places for PDS rice. There are separate houses to store rice meant for different purposes.

The fire came to light when the watchman noticed heavy fumes emanating from the godown. He informed the senior officials. Police and fire personnel rushed to the spot soon after receiving the news.

Displaced visit Hirakud

A newly married Alekh Sahu was forced to leave his village Khajurdihi and whipped by police when he resisted forcible eviction. That was 56 years back when Sahu, now 74, along with hundreds of other villagers was evicted from Khajurdihi to make way for the Hirakud dam.

On the occasion of 56th Foundation Day of the dam on Friday, Sahu and 20 others, now residing in Rengali block of Sambalpur district and Lakhanpur block of Jharsuguda district, visited the dam hoping to trace the place where their villages once stood. This was their first visit ever since they left their home.

Walking down memory lane, Parkhita Sahu (75) said they owned 121 acres of land then and once the land was gone they were reduced to paupers and now possess a mere five acres.

He now resides in Sukhadihi village in Lakhanpur block after Kutgad village was submerged.

The other evicted people Gurbari (76), her husband Sobharam Mirdha (81), village priest Ranjit Kalo (67), Lingaraj Pradhan (82), Duryodhan Ati (81), Bihari

Meher (75) now struggle to make ends meet in contrast to the affluent lifestyle they led nearly six decades back.