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Fresh areas submerged in Orissa

Source: PTI
September 24, 2008 13:38 IST
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Despite falling level in rivers, including Mahanadi, surging waters from over 100 breaches continued to submerge fresh areas in coastal Orissa where seven naval teams intensified relief work today to reach about 40 lakh people hit by floods which claimed at least 37 lives.

Inundation of more areas in Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur and Cuttack districts worsened the plight of the marooned villagers in Mahanadi delta region with relief teams still finding it tough to reach many inaccessible pockets.

Though seven naval teams and personnel of the central para-military forces gave momentum to the so far tardy relief and rescue operation, the entire exercise still remained inadequate in view of limited manpower and number of boats, official sources said.

Deprived of any assistance, a large number of angry flood affected people resorted to road blockade yesterday and today on National Highway No 5 connecting Paradip and Daitari, alleging government's lack of concern for them.

Similar incidents took place in Jagatsinghpur, one of the worst affected districts, as agitated people indulged in stone pelting and held demonstrations at a few places.

People had locked the block office at Naugaon accusing the administration of adopting a discriminatory approach in distribution of flood materials.

The death toll due to the devastating flood has touched 37 in 18 affected districts.

Water level further declined in river Mahanadi and stood at 25.14 metres at Naraj near Cuttack this morning, below the danger mark of 26.41 metres, the flood control room here said.

The water level at Hirakud Dam on Mahanadi near Sambalpur in western Orissa also fell to 629.21 feet this morning from 629.23 feet recorded last evening, official sources said.

The volume of water flowing through Munduli near Cuttack also declined to only 4,26,112 cusec from over 15 lakh cusec four days ago, they said.

The Hirakud Dam authorities who had opened six gates to drain out waters this morning subsequently closed one gate and left only five gates open which discharged 1,26,622 cusec water, they said adding that 1,01 lakh cusec water was flowing into the reservoir.

Though road communication to the holy town of Puri remained snapped, train services have been resumed following recession of flood water over the railway bridge between Delang and Birpurusottampur railway stations.

A large number of tourists and pilgrims were stranded at the seaside town.

The Centre has announced financial assistance of Rs 500 crore for relief operation but declined to declare the calamity as a national calamity after Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil made an aerial survey of the flood ravaged areas yesterday.

 Demanding about Rs 2500 crore from the Centre, the state government had stated that over 1000 villages were completely inundated and marooned due to the floods which had severely affected about four million people.

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