B.V.S. Bhaskar

Work estimated to cost Rs. 3,000 crores

  • Only 100 km of the 534-km bank strengthened during former Chief Minister Chenna Reddy's regime
  • Negligence of officials blamed for weakening of bank

    Rajahmundry: Breaches to flood banks along the 534.86-km Godavari are causing major losses in the delta areas of East and West Godavari districts almost every year. Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy himself admitted during his visit on Monday that the flood bank was strengthened only along 100 km of the 534-km stretch during Chenna Reddy's regime and there was an urgent need to strengthen the remaining part at a cost of Rs. 3,000 crores.

    Negligence of irrigation officials and administrations of two districts had resulted in weakening of the flood bank and river bund at many places over the years though temporary arrangements are being made during floods.

    Experts' view

    According to irrigation experts who served in Dhawaleswaram Head Works and other places along the river, the first breach was reported in August 1953 when 26 lakh cusecs water reached Godavari. The Government had increased the level of the flood bank and strengthened it at the time. On 15 August, 1986, both Godavari districts witnessed major calamities as a result of 30 lakh cusecs descending from upstream areas. As a result of this flood there were major breaches to River Vasista at Nagullanka in Konaseema and on the upper side of Dhawaleswaram barrage (Akhanda Godavari).

    Successive Governments started thinking of strengthening the flood banks at a cost of Rs. 1300 crores.

    P. Madana Gopal retired engineering expert said, "Lack of commitment and financial burdens have led to the crisis. Strengthening of flood banks should be major priority for any Government and it should be done in at least a phased manner."

    B.V. Prakasha Rao, a well-known engineer in Godavari districts recently stated that the estimates of flood bank strengthening is going up every year and it would be around Rs. 3000 crores by this time. He criticised the failure and negligence of a few officials, who had not taken precautionary measures like stocking up on sand bags, bamboo sticks and other material in advance and engaging daily labour along with boats.