Social Welfare Minister Pitani Satyanarayana on Tuesday laid a foundation stone for modernisation of the Nakkala outfall drain in Yalamanchili area here on Tuesday.

The scheme is proposed to build a flood bank for a distance of 11 km between the old and the new outfall sluices with an estimated cost of Rs.1.57 crore.

It was designed to protect the farm fields from floods. The paddy fields falling under 5-6 mandals have been subjected to heavy damages during the floods almost every year for want of modernisation of the outfall drain.

Speaking on the occasion, the minister said the delta modernisation works would be completed by the end of next crop season.

M.V. Suryanarayana Raju of the Andhra Pradesh Rytu Karyacharana Samithi commented that construction of the flood bank would not be a permanent solution for the havoc wrecked by the outfall drain. Diversion of the waste water from the drain straight into the sea alone held the key to the problem, he said while highlighting the need for a satellite survey for the purpose on a war-footing.

The outfall sluices were designed in such a manner that the drain water joined the Godavari river. But at the time of floods, the water level in the river would be higher than the water level in the drain, leading the sluices to overflow with the river water inundating the vast extent of farm fields, Mr. Raju explained.