KHAMMAM: With incessant rains in the catchment area bringing along huge inflows into the Godavari, the river in spate has been overflowing at a number of locations along its course. As of 11 pm on Saturday, the Godavari flood level had touched 46.50 ft, inching closer to the second flood warning level of 48 ft. The officials of the Central Water Commission (CWC) had already issued the first flood warning in the wee hours of Saturday morning, when the water level touched 43 ft.
A depression forming in the Bay of Bengal is cited as the reason for the continuous and heavy rains that Telangana, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh states have been receiving for the past three days. With the bathing ghats completely inundated, the devotees have been struggling to take their customary holy dip in the river.
Following District Collector Rajat Kumar Saini’s instructions to shift denizens from low-lying areas of the region to rehabilitation centres, the officials of the district administration have begun preparations for the same. On Saturday, the collector visited Bhadrachalam along with ITDA project officer VP Gowtham, sub-collector Bhavesh Mishra and other irrigation officials, and examined the flood-affected areas. They later convened a meeting with the officials of all government departments wherein the measures to be taken to tackle possible floods were discussed. On the occasion, the collector instructed the officials to stock essential commodities required for at least three months for the benefit of those residing in the banks of River Godavari. The officials were also instructed to identify pregnant women living in riverside villages and shift them to the area hospital in Bhadrachalam in advance.
Later, Rajat Kumar advised the people to avoid crossing streams or canals that are overflowing. He further assured the denizens that there was no need to worry, as the district administration was making arrangements to tackle the scenario even if the water level touched 53 ft, the third warning level. Bhadrachalam sub-collector Bhavesh Mishra reiterated Kumar’s advice on avoiding panic while informing that the administration has already deployed around 30 members of the NDRA team in Bhadrachalam for rescue operations.
Meanwhile, anxiety is rife among the inhabitants of low-lying areas in the region. “We have seen enough floods now to know what happens after. We will have to start rebuilding our lives again. I hope the government finds a permanent solution to our plight,” an aggrieved local said. Meanwhile, it is learnt that the inflows into the Taliperu project has decreased slightly. “Early on Saturday morning, we had opened 23 gates to release 1,34,000 cusecs of water. But now (Saturday night) we have brought it down to 20 gates, releasing just 69,000 cusecs instead,” said Deputy Executive Engineer J Tirupathi.
Control rooms have been set up at the collector’s office in Kothagudem and the sub-collector’s office in Bhadra-chalam. Two helpline numbers 874-424-1950 and 874-323-2444 have also been allotted. The control room would work 24x7 in the coming days, the collector said