Apprehension over ‘foreign forces’ being responsible for the cloudburst and subsequent floods in river Godavari in the State as expressed by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao during his tour of flood-affected areas has elicited sharp reaction from leaders of the Opposition parties, including the Congress and the BJP. Some have mocked the idea and others demanded that Mr. Chandrasekhar Rao elaborate on it.
The unprecedented floods in river Godavari have caused massive damage, including loss of lives as well as loss to agriculture and property in several districts.
Union Minister G. Kishan Reddy tweeted requesting the Chief Minister to present before the Centre any evidence about the alleged foreign forces behind the cloudburst so that a proper investigation can be taken up. He added that Mr Rao would not have made the statement without any kind of ‘preliminary information’.
Former MP Konda Vishweshwar Reddy, addressing a press conference at the BJP party office, said: “We have become the laughing stock of the nation. If KCR is sure about a foreign hand behind the recent floods due to cloudburst, he should inform the Centre as it has the investigative agencies to deal with the matter. It is not right to make such baseless claims without having proper knowledge.”
Mr. Reddy tried to explain with the help of a presentation that there is little chance of any cloudburst, especially during monsoon in these parts, but Telangana is too far for China or Pakistan to plan a cloudburst and cause damage, he observed.
The BJP leader welcomed KCR’s tour of the flood-affected areas and interacting with the people but urged him to “keep up his new promise of sanctioning ₹1,000 crore for developing new colonies and other infrastructure to prevent Bhadrachalam from being flooded”.
Similar promises were made during the Warangal floods and ₹10,000 was to be given to each family during the 2020 Hyderabad flooding, but “they were not kept”, he charged. The TRS government has been ignoring demands to give compensation to farmers hit by floods and unseasonal rains, he said and called for release of a white paper about the same for the past eight years. Telangana farmers are also being denied the benefits of the PM farm insurance scheme for no reason, he felt and added that the hallmark of a good leader is to admit his/her mistakes and take up remedial measures.
The theory of cloudburst is a ‘political trick’ played by the Chief Minister to divert public attention from the government’s failure to take immediate measures to assist flood-affected people, alleged Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) senior vice-president Mallu Ravi.
“Saying that the cloudburst is a conspiracy by foreign forces is nothing but political incompetence of Mr. Chandrasekhar Rao and to cover the design failures of Kaleshwaram project, which has been constructed in an unscientific manner. This [cloudburst claim] is the advice given by Chief Minister’s political adviser Prashant Kishor,” said Mr. Ravi in a release here on Monday.
‘Not even a cloudburst’
Former minister and Congress senior leader Marri Shashidhar Reddy also ridiculed the argument put forth by the TRS supremo and said it was unbelievable. He cautioned the State government about impending flooding of towns and urged it to get ready to address the issue.
“If there is a rainfall of 100 mm per hour then only it can be called as cloudburst. Mr.Rao said that cloudburst took place in Uttarakhand and Ladakh followed by Godavari basin. Even Uttarakhand has not faced cloudburst as claimed by the Chief Minister. We do not have implements to accurately measure the rainfall. Further, the Chief Minister has failed to hold disaster management committee meeting in the past eight years at the State-level,” Mr. Shashidhar Reddy pointed out, while speaking to reporters at Gandhi Bhavan here on Monday.
Stating that guidelines were framed in the past to face disasters, the Congress leader suggested that the government follow them to come out of the problems.
YSR Telangana Party president Y.S. Sharmila also chipped in with her comments on Twitter. “Allegations of suppression by Andhra rulers is passe. So are allegations of Opposition conspiracy and back-stabbing by dissenters. National party gimmicks are over, and Central government negligence has been oft repeated. Now has begun the international conspiracy. Just a single flood has brought so many problems to our KCR ‘Dora’,” she commented and and attached newspaper clippings on Mr.Rao’s ‘foreign conspiracy’ remark.