With the flood situation at Bhadrachalam gradually easing, it is blame game between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh over each other’s role that led to the unprecedented wave of water in Godavari beside the temple town.
Minister for Transport Ajay Kumar, who hails from the erstwhile Khammam district, held the A.P. government responsible saying it was the excess height of Polavaram project taken up by the latter which led to the situation. Minister for Water Resources in A.P government Ambati Rambabu refuted the claim and said the project design had all the clearances of the Central Water Commission and the Central government.
Mr. Ajay Kumar and other TRS MLAs of Khammam told a press conference here on Tuesday that unless the project height was restricted, Bhadrachalam town would be in the threat of flood round-the-year. He demanded that the Centre introduce a Bill to amend Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act in the ongoing session of Parliament itself at least to return 5 villages out of 7 mandals forcibly transferred to A.P. after Bifurcation as they were just abutting Bhadrachalam town.
The disbursement of immediate flood relief amount of ₹10,000 per affected family in Bhadrachalam and other areas of erstwhile Khammam district would begin once the enumeration of affected families by the authorities concerned is completed. It is likely to commence from Wednesday, he said.
He added that timely shifting of people living in the low-lying areas had prevented any loss of life although the intensity of flood this time was much higher compared to the 1986 flood.
Following the directions of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, he said they had been camping there from July 13 itself and would be there for another 3-4 days to oversee the relief work. It was for the first time after formation of Telangana, about 25,000 people of Bhadrachalam and surrounding areas were shifted to relief camps, he mentioned.
He thanked the Chief Minister for announcing funds for strengthening of flood banks to prevent flooding even if it comes with higher intensity that what it happened this time as also sanction of ₹1,000 crore for construction of houses for people of the low-lying areas at higher locations. The strengthening of flood banks as also safety measures to prevent flooding of Bhadradri temple would be taken up once contour levels of various areas flooded this time were taken up.
The Minister observed that some delay in discharging the flood from Polavaram project in proportion to the inflow had led to inundation of several areas, including Burgampahad, which remained safe even in the 1986 flood.
He explained that power supply was restored in 223 of 240 affected villages till Monday night and the remaining villages would get the supply from Tuesday. He alleged that except for statements, the BJP and Congress leaders did nothing to help affected people. He also accused the Centre of not extending any help.