NAGARKURNOOL : In a major embarrassment to the Telangana government, the pump house of the first phase of the Kalwakurthy Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS) at Yellur in Kollapur mandal of Nagarkurnool district got submerged due to heavy floods in the Krishna river.
After the incident, the Opposition was quick to criticise the TRS government and even demanded an apology from Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.
The Yellur pump house, which is the only source to draw Krishna waters from Srisailam, has five motors, including one on standby.
Located on the river’s banks, it has 14 floors and the floodwaters have reached the tenth, sources said.
On Friday, officials switched on the first motor in the KLIS to release water for Mission Bhagiratha.
When they started the second motor a couple of hours later, they heard loud sounds and saw water gushing into the pump house. In 20 minutes, the entire pump house got submerged.
The officials shut the gates of the surge pool and tried to stop the water from entering the pump house but it was only on Saturday that they could begin pumping out the floodwaters.
The incident has drawn scathing criticism from leaders of opposition parties, who have alleged that another underground pump house, just 400 m from the one at Yellur, had been planned for the Palamuru-Rangareddy Lift Irrigation Scheme (PRLIS). When blasting was done for the PRLIS, the impact could be felt at the Yellur pump house, due to which, its basement had collapsed, they said.
Uttam demands probe into irrigation projects
“Back then too, we had opposed the construction of an underground pump house for PRLIS and raised the issue on the floor of the Assembly. But the government had not heeded our advice,” said TPCC chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy.
Uttam pointed out that an expert committee had also submitted a report on June 20, 2016 objecting to its construction.
Terming the incident as a ‘human failure’, Uttam demanded that Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao tender an apology. Doubting the quality of the irrigation projects constructed by the TRS government, the TPCC chief demanded that the Centre order a probe in this regard.
However, the officials have said they can know the cause for the submergence only after the water level recedes.
“It will take several days to get the Yellur pump house working. Srisailam is overflowing and that is why water entered the pump house,” KLIS SE N Bhadraiah informed Express.
As the officials could not draw water from Yellur, the Jadcherla Municipality announced that it cannot supply drinking water for the next 20 days.
The water drawn from Yellur is also utilised for Mission Bhagiratha supply.
Around five lakh acres under the Phase-I of the KLIS might not get water in Rabi due to the damaged pump house.
Meanwhile, several Congress and BJP leaders, including MP A Revanth Reddy and BJP vice-president DK Aruna, who were headed towards Yellur, were stopped midway by the police and taken into police custody.