Minister surveys flood-hit areas, interacts with evacuees
VIJAYAWADA: Panchayat Raj Minister J.C. Diwakar Reddy on Monday said the State Government would construct 15,000 pucca houses for poor people by acquiring 200 acres of land near the city, and some of these houses would be earmarked for relocating people living along the Krishna riverbank. The houses would be constructed in two years, and the process of land acquisition would begin in one month, he said.
After surveying the flood-hit areas along the Krishna riverbank and visiting a few relief centres where he had interacted with flood evacuees, Mr. Reddy said at a press conference that the strengthening of the river bund by clearing the riverbank of encroachers could not brook delay any more.
He blamed the previous Governments, elected representatives and officials for overlooking the encroachments and even encouraging them. "All of us (elected representatives) are to blame for this state of affairs, as none of us want to tell the encroacher to clear the riverbank for the fear of losing their votes," Mr. Reddy said.
But the Rajasekhara Reddy Government was determined to ensure that the encroachments did not take place again after the riverbank was cleared of all the present encroachments.
The pucca houses would be constructed in `Ground+3' model under the Basic Services for Urban Poor (BSUP) sub-mission of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). Each residential dwelling would cost Rs. 1.2 lakhs.
In response to a question, Mr. Reddy said that the Government was committed to the strengthening the riverbund (karakatta), for which Rs.6.2 crores had been sanctioned already. Tenders could not be called only due to the panchayat raj polls, he maintained.
Pat for officials
Complimenting the district administration on its "effective rehabilitation and relief arrangements," the Minister said the loss in the district due to the flood could be about Rs. 7 crores, which was on account of the damage of houses, roads, electrical poles and so on. There was no loss of agriculture, he said.
Each person whose house was submerged in the floodwater would be given Rs. 750 for repairs, Rs. 250 each for utensils and clothes.
MLAs Vangaveeti Radhakrishna and Sk. Nasar Vali and others accompanied the Minister during the visit.