Stating that the floods have done considerable damage, officials said that restoration will go on for a couple of months.

After Krishna floods Vijayawadas Bhavani Island to reopen to tourists from Sep 1
news Tourism Wednesday, August 28, 2019 - 13:01

With the flood waters receding after the deluge in the Krishna river, Andhra Pradesh Minister of Tourism Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao visited Bhavani Island on Tuesday to survey the cleaning and restoration work. Situated in the Krishna river in Vijayawada, the Bhavani Island is said to be one of the largest river islands in India. It is also one of the popular tourist features in the city too. 

Officials announced that the island will be re-opened to tourists from September 1. The island was submerged August 16 onwards, with water reaching three to five feet.

Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) officials on Tuesday briefed the minister on the status of losses, damage to infrastructure, and the timeline for restoration. According to officials, there has been an estimated loss of about Rs 1.7 to 2 crore at the island due to the recent floods. Although there has been serious damage to a musical fountain worth around Rs 16 crore, officials clarified that the fountain, which was constructed and maintained by a private firm, was insured. 

In spite of the loss of some infrastructure, and some plant and bird life, danger to tourists was avoided by evacuating them well in advance, said Sudheer Babu, manager at Bhavani Island. “On August 12 itself, tourists were moved out. We cancelled reservations from August 13 onwards. From August 15, the island was fully vacated. Some important movable items were also shifted in time to minimise damage,” he said. 

A flood alert was sounded as 8 lakh cusecs of water was released from the Prakasam Barrage that lies across the Krishna river in Vijayawada. The water, which was released on August 15, submerged several low-lying areas in the Krishna district.

The Krishna River was in spate due to heavy rainfalls in Maharashtra and Karnataka, forcing dam authorities to open the gates, resulting in flooding downstream of the river. On August 12, all 26 crest gates of Nagarjuna Sagar Project in Andhra were lifted, reportedly for the first time in a decade. On the other hand, outflows from Nagarjuna Sagar dam had been filling up the Pulichintala project, located upstream of the Prakasam Barrage. 

Restoration work had begun on August 22, with the staff beginning with cleaning work. Bhavani Island Development Corporation Executive Director G Umamaheswar Rao said, “Initially, there were a lot of silt and mud deposits, and fallen trees to clear. We want to take some time before opening up for tourists again to ensure their safety.” 

Speaking to the media, Minister Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao said, “Within 30 to 45 days, the island will be restored to its former state, as it was before the floods. Beyond government funds, we will consider PPPs (Public-Private Partnerships) to build flood resistant, non-permanent structures on the island. We will also consider other safety precautions in the future.”  

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