KHAMMAM: Fear has gripped those living on the banks of the Godavari river in Bhadrachalam as the construction of the Polavaram project is progressing at a brisk pace. According to sources, several areas of the temple town are likely to get submerged in the backwaters of the project.
The local residents assume that apart from the temple town, at least 100 surrounding villages will also submerge in the backwaters once the construction of the Polavaram project gets completed in Andhra Pradesh.
Though Bhadrachalam has been reeling under the fear of submergence for quite some time now, the fact that the water level in Godavari at Bhadrachalam increased immediately after the completion of the coffer dam of Polavaram project has added fuel to this.
According to official sources, the Polavaram project's Full Reservoir Level (FRL) is 45.72 metres. Once the project reaches FRL, the level of backwaters will rise to 49-50 feet and it will af fect Dummagudem i n Bhadrachalam division.
During flood times, water will enter the temple premises. Speaking to The New Indian Express, K Ramachander Rao, a senior citizen living in Bhadrachalam, said that if sudden floods occur, the temple town will be severely affected.
He demanded that the State government clarify doubts of the residents and instil confidence in them. It may be recalled that the residents of Bhadrachalam division witnessed the worst floods in 1986, when the water level in the Godavari river rose up to 75.6 feet.
Several people had died back then. An irrigation official told The New Indian Express that they have sent a report to the government about the impact the project will have on Bhadrachalam division and Munneru and Kinnerasani areas.
Meanwhile, he pointed out that if the flood regulatory system is solid, it will avoid all dangers. Meanwhile, the fear of submergence has also affected the real estate and trading sectors in the temple town. N Satish, a realtor, said: "After learning that the temple town would submerge, we stopped buying properties in Bhadrachalam."
G Srinivas, a middleman in the realty sector, also said that people have stopped coming forward seeking lands and/or properties in Bhadrachalam.