Construction of a protection wall along the Krishna floodbank to safeguard people living in dwellings that have come up in the erstwhile riverbed and on the floodbank is not advisable in view of the unpredictable floods in the Krishna, say irrigation experts.

The construction of the protection wall snowballed into a controversy with Vijayawada East MLA Yelamanchili Ravi and Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal publicly squabbling over it at a review meeting conducted by district in-charge Minister Galla Aruna Kumari on Tuesday.

When the MLA tried to impress upon the Minister the importance of building the protection wall, the MP said the project was likely to face difficulty in getting clearance from the River Conservator. Irked by this, the MLA entered into a wordy duel with the MP. The irate MLA tried to walk out of the meeting in a huff, but he was physically stopped by the other MLAs who were present at the meeting.

The debate on whether steps should be taken to prevent the flooding of colonies that had come up on the riverbed or relocate the residents to safer places is hotting up again.

Original floodbank

The NH 9 was the original floodbank for the Krishna downstream Prakasam Barrage.

People dwelling in Krishna Lanka, an island on the riverbed, were a vulnerable lot.

A proposal to have a permanent floodbank in the area was first mooted by T.V.S. Chalapaty Rao when he was Municipal Chairman in the early 1950s, but nothing materialised because the combine Madras Government did not give it much importance.

Chalapaty Rao voiced the demand in the State Assembly after he became MLA in 1962.

The demand for a permanent floodback became stronger until work began when Kasu Brahmananda Reddy was Chief Minister and A.C. Subba Reddy was Minister for Public Works.

Irrigation experts say the construction of the protection wall will further narrow down the river.

While the floodbank was constructed to protect only Krishna Lanka, other parts of the riverbed downstream the island also began getting inhabited in the subsequent years.

The sudden construction of several reservoirs upstream reduced the floods in the river allowing people to settle down in colonies that came up there.

Many were relocated to Ranigarithota and nearby colonies by the Municipal Corporation itself.

But, deforestation and climate change have brought back floods to the door-step of the city.

Though relocation may be difficult initially, it will be the correct decision in the long run, the experts say.

Keywords: Krishna river

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