Tirupati awaits monsoon as a ‘sitting duck’?

Encroachment removal remains a years-long promise exposing the city to submergence threat during rains

Updated - July 22, 2022 01:25 pm IST

Published - July 22, 2022 12:58 pm IST - TIRUPATI

A person walks in rain the road in Andhra Pradesh. File Photo

A person walks in rain the road in Andhra Pradesh. File Photo | Photo Credit: V RAJU

When Tirupati witnessed a heavy downpour during November-December 2015, the low-lying northern colonies were completely inundated. The authorities promised prompt action in removal of encroachments, besides widening the channel to facilitate faster flow of water out of the city. There has, however, been no action.

In November 2021, Tirumala witnessed heavy showers of never-before scale in the last 40 years, submerging the same colonies. Coupled with this, the breach caused to the Peruru tank flooded the city’s western and southern parts. A ‘technical glitch’ in closing the Kalyani dam gate on time made the Swarnamukhi river swell and flood the Auto Nagar area on the east. This also severely breached the culverts at Tanapalle, Gajulamandyam and Padipeta, disconnecting the city from all sides. In a nutshell, the entire city remained submerged in water for 10 days.

The extensive damage this time was not caused by heavy rains. The man-made damage was attributed to ‘external factors’. MLA Bhumana Karunakar Reddy, city Mayor R. Sireesha and the then Commissioner P.S. Gireesha toured the inundated colonies and promised action, but no steps have been taken yet.

Victim, not culprit

The flow from the Malavanigundam waterfall near Kapila Theertham starts as a mighty 100-foot-wide stream carrying rainwater from Tirumala, but when it reaches Akkarampalli Road, just a kilometre away, the channel shrinks to just 10 feet. Denizens often point an accusing finger at this channel passing through the heart of the city for ‘flooding’ the colonies, hardly realising that it is only retracing its path that has been rampantly encroached upon over a period of time in the form of illegal construction on its bed. Simply, the victim is branded as the culprit.

When the Andhra Pradesh Southern Power Distribution Company Limited (APSPDCL) had openly intruded into the channel’s bed by building a sub-station in the NGO’s Colony, obviously without anticipating future troubles, other encroachments obstructing the flow of water tend to appear minor. As the encroachment removal exercise will have a direct bearing on the ‘vote bank’, there has hardly been any action on this front for decades, irrespective of the party in power.

It is no surprise then that the promises made in the wake of floods remain unfulfilled and are recalled only during the next time the same colonies are inundated. Like the proverbial ‘sitting duck’, the unprepared city is waiting with bated breath for another bout of downpour in the monsoon season.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.