The water level in the Godavari river at Bhadrachalam town, which was in spate due to incessant rains, has now started receding even as the state government continued to maintain relief camps for flood victims, Telangana Minister Puvvada Ajay Kumar said on Tuesday, July 19. He said the flood level in the river is expected to come down soon below the third warning level and it will continue to recede further. "Earlier, Godavari flood flow used to have equal inflow and outflow. But this time the outflow was slow. As we mentioned earlier, Telangana will see an uncomfortable situation due to the Polavaram project work," Ajay Kumar said.
The Telangana Transport Minister, who is also the MLA from Khammam, opined that the outflow was slow this time as the Andhra Pradesh government finished fixing the gates of the Polavaram project. He also said the water levels may have been retained in those seven mandals which were transferred to Andhra Pradesh from Telangana in 2014. There is a chance that once the Polavaram project is completed, water levels at Bhadrachalam will permanently remain 45.5 ft, he said. "Earlier also we demanded that the height of the Polavaram project has to be reduced," he recalled.
He also reiterated Telanganaâs demand to the Union government to return five villages near Bhadrachalam town which were merged with Andhra Pradesh after bifurcation. He alleged that the five villages had been facing problems during the Godavari floods, and that the Telangana government had provided aid and helped strengthen embankments which were at risk of being breached.
Responding to Ajay Kumarâs remarks, Andhra Pradesh Education Minister Botsa Satyanarayana said that the height of Polavaram project was fixed as per the design permitted by the Central Water Commission (CWC), adding that this year there was an exceptional situation due to record floods. âThe villages merged into Andhra Pradesh are our responsibility. Itâs irresponsible to comment on neighbouring states and their people,â Botsa said about Ajay Kumarâs comments. Reacting to the demand of returning the five villages near Bhadrachalam, Botsa said, âBy that argument, because of bifurcation, Andhraâs income has fallen. Can we ask to merge Hyderabad back into Andhra Pradesh, to reverse bifurcation and merge the states together again? Is that possible?â
Andhra Pradesh Minister for Water Resources Ambati Rambabu also responded to Ajay Kumarâs remarks and said, âSuch massive floods are rare in July. Itâs an extraordinary event, regardless of whether the Polavaram dam existed, these areas would have been submerged. This has happened in the past too. Itâs not fair to connect the two, itâs unscientific. We are constructing Polavaram with all approvals, without any inconvenience to Telangana.â
Speaking of flood relief and prevention measures in Bhadrachalam, Ajay Kumar said Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao assured them that he would send a team of experts to suggest the measures to be taken on a permanent basis to strengthen the bunds along the Godavari river so that the temple town of Bhadrachalam is safeguarded. Ajay Kumar said as many as eight power sub-stations, which were affected due to floods have been completely restored and the power supply to 240 villages was disrupted due to floods. Electricity was restored in 223 villages.
Dewatering is being done on a war footing at the temple premises and will be completed by this afternoon, he further said. According to him, about 25,000 people have been sent to rehabilitation centres before the floods which is the largest evacuation and rehabilitation programme the state has ever taken up.
With PTI inputs