Telangana blames Polavaram for Bhadrachalam floods, AP says don’t politicise issue

AP Water Resources Minister Ambati Rambabu joined the issue, advising the Telangana Minister not to politicise the issue.

Published: 20th July 2022 05:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th July 2022 05:34 AM   |  A+A-

An aerial view of Bhadrachalam that was marooned on Thursday;

An aerial view of Bhadrachalam that was marooned on Thursday;

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: At a time when relief measures are on in full swing in flood-ravaged Bhadrachalam, a new controversy erupted between the two sibling States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday over the height of the Polavaram project and five villages in Bhadrachalam mandal, which went to AP along with six other mandals when the State was divided in 2014.

The mercury in the political barometer shot up in both the States after Telangana Transport Minister Puvvada Ajay Kumar asked neighbouring Andhra Pradesh to “return” five villages in Bhadrachalam mandal to Telangana so that they could take foolproof measures like the construction of flood embankments to prevent the submergence of the famous Ramalayam and other parts of the temple town. AP Water Resources Minister Ambati Rambabu joined the issue, advising the Telangana Minister not to politicise the issue.

Ajay Kumar, speaking to the media, said that to prevent flooding of Bhadrachalam, the height of the Polavaram project, being constructed 73 km downstream of Godavari from Bhadrachalam in AP, should be reduced. 

The  Telangana Minister demanded that the Centre should introduce a Bill in Parliament for the transfer of the five villages in Bhadrachalam mandal to Telangana.“If AP hands over five villages back to Telangana, then the Telangana government will take up flood safety measures. We cannot take up construction works in AP,” he said.

Centre decides: Ambati

Bhadrachalam locals use
country-made boats to travel
along the Ramalayam

Cut to the quick by Ajay Kumar’s demand, AP Water Resources Minister Ambati Rambabu advised the Telangana Minister not to create a controversy, where there was none. “It is irresponsible to say that increasing the height of the Polavaram project would lead to flooding of Bhandrachalam,” he said and pointed out that the project’s Full Reservoir Level of 45.72 metre was decided by the Central Water Commission after a thorough inspection. 

“Polavaram, which is a national project, is being executed by the Central government and the State government is only a implementing authority,’’ he pointed out.The AP Minister further stated that Central Water Power Research Centre has thoroughly studied it before permission for the projects was accorded. “After the height of the project was decided and found that seven mandals would be submerged, those mandals were merged with Andhra Pradesh. We are providing R&R to the people of the submerged villages,” he asserted.

“Were there no floods before causing inundation in Bhadrachalam? If there are any inter-State issues, there is the Central government, CEC and Godavari River Management Board to settle them. There is no need for politicising the issue. Some are demanding five villages. Would they give Bhadrachalam to us, if we say it is ours,” he asked.

Meanwhile, AP Education Minister Botcha Satyanarayana took the controversy to another level, asking if Telangana would agree to the merger of Hyderabad with AP since the latter had lost heavily in terms of revenue after Hyderabad went to Telangana.

Not a new controversy

The controversy over the height of Polavaram project is not new. The Telangana govt filed an affidavit in Supreme Court in 2017 expressing concerns over the project height as it fears that more than 100 villages would be submerged. Another point raised by TS was AP redesigned the project for holding 50 lakh cusecs of water as against the initial capacity of 35 lakh cusecs. It also demanded a fresh Environmental Impact Assessment to safeguard the people of TS.



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