Correspondent

CUTTACK: Even as there are indications of a normal monsoon this year, the Cuttack district administration is gearing up to meet any eventuality as the fear of flood fury looms large in many parts of the district.

Since river Mahanadi and its tributaries flow at a higher level than many habitats and due to weak embankments in several places, the district is always vulnerable to flood fury during monsoon.

Looking at the heavy damage caused by the swelled rivers in the district every year, the local administration on Monday took stock of the situation at a natural calamity preparatory meeting chaired by Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) Mr. N. K. Sundaray. The meeting was attended among others by all legislators of the district, Zilla parishad president and many officials of all line departments, including civic body commissioner and hospital superintendent.

Vulnerable points

This year, the district administration has identified about 60 weak and vulnerable points on embankments of Mahandi and tributaries like Kathajodi, Kuakhai, Kandal and Devi. At least 30 such points are located in the Prachi division alone which poses great threats to vast areas under Baranga, Athagarh, Banki, Kantapada, Niali and Cuttack Sadar blocks of the district.

Expressing concern over the fact that flood, cyclone and drought are common phenomenon in the district, the MLAs unanimously suggested that the district administration should remain alert for next four months to meet any eventuality.

The meeting called upon the heads of all irrigation divisions in the district to repair the vulnerable points at the river embankments on a war footing manner so as to complete the work by June 15. There were about 129 vulnerable points identified in the district with breaches formed at several places during 2008 floods.

All the block headquarters have been asked to remain equipped with sufficient food items, kerosene, dry food and fodder to meet any eventuality during flood along with powerboats and country boats to evacuate the marooned people.

The district now has 11 powerboats and 168 country boats against a requirement of 19 powerboats and 291 country boats.

The SRC has assured that the shortage in boats would be met soon.

About 400 school buildings, high rise buildings and pucca houses have been identified to serve as shelter places all over the district to rehabilitate the evacuees during the flood, the meeting was informed.

The administration has also requested the NGOs and voluntary organisations to extend help in providing emergency first aid, management of feeding centres, relief camps and counselling to the affected people.