Flood alert as Godavari is rising

HYDERABAD, JULY 20.The Government on Thursday put on alert the `vulnerable areas' by the side of the Godavari in Karimnagar, Warangal, Khammam and East Godavari districts as the river crossed the first warning level along its course in this belt.

A `general alert' has also been issued to the low-lying areas along the Thungabhadra, including the pilgrim centre of Mantralayam, due to possible opening of the flood-gates of the Hospet dam anytime. The dam was almost full this evening except for a three-foot gap. The storage swirled at 1629.89 ft on its way to touch the full reservoir level at 1633 ft.

On being sounded by the Government, the Commissioner for Relief and Rehabilitation, Mr. P. Bhaskar Prasad, rushed fax messages to the Collectors concerned, asking them to take steps necessary to meet the situation.

Information reaching the Central Water Commission here from Kaleswaram, Dummagudem, Bhadrachalam and Dowlaiswaram, where the river flow is gauged, indicated that the flash floods in the river were caused by a large number of hill-streams and tributaries such as Balharsha, Bandara and Pranahita, which join it midway between Sriramsagar and Bhadrachalam.

According to a report from Khammam, people are being evacuated from 33 villages of Bhadrachalam and Palvancha divisions of Khammam district as the Godavari is in spate. The second warning was issued as the flood level touched 48 feet at Bhadrachalam.

The evacuation process is in full swing in five villages - Ulumuru and Mukkunur of Chintoor mandal, Dabavaipeta, Tegada and Meduvai of Charla mandal - which are likely to be inundated. About 100 families were shifted to safer places from low-lying areas in Bhadrachalam.

Two helicopters have joined the relief operations. The Minister for Prohibition and Excise, Mr. Tummala Nageswara Rao, and the District Collector, Mr. A. Giridhar had an aerial survey of the flood prone areas.