Penna, the river of sorrow for Nellorians

A protection wall proposed on the river bank in the city will take at least two years for completion

Updated - July 22, 2022 01:24 pm IST

Published - July 22, 2022 01:03 pm IST - NELLORE:

Residents complain that whenever the Penna is in spate, a huge quantity of water is released in a short time catching them unawares.

Residents complain that whenever the Penna is in spate, a huge quantity of water is released in a short time catching them unawares. | Photo Credit: Ravikumar. K

Unsuspecting Abdul Karim, a resident of Bhagat Singh Colony in the city, was having dinner along with his wife and children when floods in Penna, the veritable ''yellow river'' of SPSR Nellore district started entering his house of all of a sudden on the fateful night of November 20.

With no other go he and his family members like other residents in the colony rushed out to the near-by rehabilitation centre set up by the district administration.

In no time the flood waters submerged most part of his house as a record 5.50 lakh cusecs of water had been discharged then from the Somasila reservoir into the Penna river downstream. When they returned home they were shocked to see all electrical appliances dysfunctional. The floodwaters snatched away all essential commodities stored in the house.

So was the fate of thousands of families in Bhagat Singh Colony, Islampeta and Venkateswarapuram in the city as the reservoir had an unprecedented inflow of up to 6 lakh cusecs.

Their woes were the result of storage of maximum water in the reservoir with 75 tmcft capacity leaving very little flood cushion, in order to meet the irrigation and drinking water needs of not only SPSR Nellore district, but also neighbouring Tirupati district, they complain.

Serving other areas

A part of the storage is diverted in a phased manner over a period to the Kandaleru reservoir to meet the drinking water needs of among other cities Chennai and Tirupati. Every time YSR Kadapa experiences flash floods with Kundu, a tributary of Penna, in spate a huge quantity of water gets released in a short period catching them unawares.

Nellore city witnessed heavy flash floods in Pennar consecutively from 2019 to 2021, leaving a majority of the habitations on the river banks inundated, causing terrible suffering to the residents.

‘’We live in constant fear of flooding when the Krishna and Penna and their tributaries are in spate,” they lament in a conversation with The Hindu.

They seek a permanent solution to the recurrent problem.

The Irrigation Department has designed a Rs.95 crore project to find a permanent solution to the flooding of habitations.

As per the design, a 11.50-metre-tall concrete protection wall for a length of 2,050 metres from the new Railway Bridge to the Chennai-Kolkata road bridge will be constructed to ensure the safety of the people residing in the low-lying areas in the city, according to Telugu Ganga Chief Engineer K. Harinarayana Reddy.

However, the people on the Penna river bank in the city have to wait for at least two more years for the project to get completed and their sufferings to end once for all.

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