Problems relating to resettlement and rehabilitation (RR) of 6,000 odd families in Nalgonda and Guntur districts displaced by Pulichintala project being constructed across the Krishna at this picturesque desolate place, have remained unsolved while the construction of the dam reached the penultimate stage.
The government wants to store more water in the reservoir but a paradoxical situation has arisen with people at a majority of the 21 villages marked for submergence in the two districts unwilling to move out.
The resettlement and rehabilitation centres or all-facility colonies promised to them continue to elude them.
Complaints of poor resettlement and rehabilitation measures poured in from affected families at a meeting addressed by Major Irrigation Minister P. Sudarshan Reddy at Anjanipuram here on Saturday.
Besides giving an assurance to solve this problem, he announced some extra sops to them— a scheme to lift one tmcft of water from Pulichintala to irrigate their lands, ensure supplies through pipelines from the reservoir for drinking purpose and extension of relief to unmarried girls if they are 18 year old.
Accompanied by an officials' entourage comprising S. K Joshi, principal secretary, Irrigation, and special secretary, R &R, the Minister visited Ramakistapuram where a colony is under construction, and the dam site as affected people jostled around him to ventilate grievances. He noted that only Rs. 100 crore is being spent now out of Rs. 364 crore earmarked for RR.
The Minister's visit offered a rare spectacle, with Huzurabad MLA N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, who earlier vehemently opposed Pulichintala, facilitating a meeting of affected people with him while two Coastal Andhra legislators, Rayapati Srinivas and T. G. V. Krishna Reddy, moving with him hand in hand at the dam site building pressure for early completion of the project.
The Minister appeared satisfied with the progress of the work at the imposing concrete dam that came up impounding the water.
He said 67 per cent of the dam, its earthen flanks and other main components have been completed.
Work is in full swing on the project's 120-MW powerhouse.
Mr. Sudarshan Reddy asked D. Srinivas, executive director, SCL InfraTec, project contractors, to complete the dam by August next.
Over Rs. 848 crore has been pumped so far into the project whose cost is revised to Rs. 1,281 crore.