SRIKAKULAM: With increasing inflows from upstream following heavy rainfall in the upper catchment areas of the river Godavari and its tributaries in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, flood level in the river was rising by the hour. Several tribal villages near Polavaram project site in both East and West Godavari districts remained cut off from rest of the world on Sunday.
Officials issued a first flood-level warning at Dowleswaram Barrage at Rajamahendravaram. They are likely to issue a second flood-level warning in the early hours of Monday. Following increasing inflows from upstream of the Srisailam project, officials of Srisailam, Nagarjuna Sagar, Pulichintala project and Prakasam Barrage were on alert and constantly monitoring the situation to regulate the flood flow.
Inflows into Gotta Barrage on the river Vamsadhara in Srikakulam, where first-level flood warning was issued on Sunday morning, started subsiding. Speaking to TNIE, irrigation department superintending engineer S Krishna Rao said there was increasing inflows from Indravati, Pranahita basins and also from Sabari and Sileru.
19 villages in WG, 36 in EG remain cut off, affected people to be shifted
“The inflows from Indravati and Pranahita are at 14 lakh cusecs discharge rate and flood water is expected to reach Dowleswaram by Wednesday. Meanwhile, inflows from Sabari and Sileru have touched 1.5 lakh cusecs. By Wednesday we expect the flood discharge from the barrage to be between 15.5 lakh and 16 lakh cusecs,” he said.
The flood discharge at the Dowleswaram Barrage which was 11,03,727 cusecs at 6 pm on Sunday is likely to cross 13-lakh cusec mark after midnight or early hours of Monday. The floods in the river Godavari are likely to continue until next Sunday, irrigation department officials said. At the Polavaram project, floodwater flowed above the spillway and the water level was recorded at 27.5 meters while it was 27.7 meters at the cofferdam.
With no let up in flood situation, 19 villages in Polavaram mandal of West Godavari district and 36 villages in Devipatnam of East Godavari district continued to remain cut off. Road connectivity to several villages (river islets) downstream of Dowleswaram Barrage was also cut off. Some people in villages of Polavaram mandal expressed their anger over the officials’ alleged failure to alert them about the looming threat.
The residents who went through a nightmarish experience due to floods only a few days back questioned the lack of preparedness on the part of officials. “Not alerting the people about the impending disaster is sheer negligence on the part of officials. What would be our fate if our villages are flooded again,” asked an angry Kondrukota MPTC member Midiyam Venkataswamy. “The people who did not foresee this situation did not stock up food or drinking water.
As a result, they are facing a lot of problems,” he said.
When contacted, Polavaram tahsildar N Narasimha Murthy said they have arranged two boats and a launch to ferry the people from marooned villages to safety. “We will not leave any stone unturned to send relief and medical teams to the affected people,” he said. Officials of both Godavari districts have geared up to evacuate the people from flooded low-lying areas to relief camps.
Officials on high alert
Irrigation officials said they will take decision on lifting of Srisailam dam gates depending on the situation. The current water level in the project reached 882 ft as against the full reservoir level of 885ft. Srisailam dam superintendent engineer Srinivas Reddy said that the inflows from Jurala are at 1,66,935 cusecs and floodwater at a discharge rate of 86,856 cusecs from river Tungabhadra. With the possibility of increasing inflows, officials at both Nagarjuna Sagar and Pulichintala project are getting ready to regulate the flood by releasing water downstream. Officials at Prakasam Barrage have been alerted.
Flood warning issued
First level flood warning issued at Dowleswaram Barrage
11,03,727 cusecs: Flood discharge at Dowleswaram
51,265 cusecs: Flood discharge at Gotta Barrage on Vamsadhara
882.5 feet (FRL - 885 feet) - reservoir level at Srisailam dam
99,420 cusecs: Srisailam discharge
52,902 cusecs - Flood discharge at Nagarjuna Sagar dam
31,231 cusecs - Flood discharge at Pulichintala
127 SDRF personnel deployed in Devipatnam mandal of EG
40 NDRF personnel deployed in Rampachodavaram mandal