HYDERABAD: Stating that the recent floods affected 99 villages in six mandals at Bhadrachalam due to backwaters of the Polavaram irrigation project, the Telangana government on Saturday reiterated its request for a comprehensive backwater study by an independent agency at the earliest.
In a letter to the Chief Executive Officer of Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) on Saturday, Telangana Irrigation Engineer-in-Chief C Muralidhar said that the study was required for taking suitable measures to prevent large scale submergence of the affected areas in Telangana territory.
The EnC pointed out that due to the recent floods, more inundation was observed around Bhadrachalam temple premises and near the flood bank than the area affected during the 1986 floods. He wrote that the Minimum Water Level (MWL) of the observed flood in 1986 at Bhadrachalam was 55.65 metres with the estimated discharge of 27 lakh cusecs. This year, the water level at Bhadrachalam gradually rose from the normal level of 38.71 meters on July 9 to 54.35 metres on July 16 with an estimated discharge of about 25.50 lakh cusecs.
“Several mandals on the left bank of Godavari in Bhadrachalam got affected. The backwater levels impacting Bhadrachalam town will become a common phenomenon once the Polavaram project is completed and water stored at FRL as successive floods within a water year are a common feature in the lower Godavari basin,” the EnC wrote. He pointed out that when Polavaram reaches full reservoir level (FRL), it is certain that the flood levels at Bhadrachalam would be further compounded.
Polavaram: Expert warns of possible dangers
IIT-Roorkee estimated that the possible maximum flood (PMF) as 58 lakh cusecs and the backwater levels at upstream Konta on river Sabari as 218.40 feet with 58 lakh cusecs against the 180.15 feet with 36 lakh cusecs as computed by Central Water Commission (CWC).
A similar increase in backwater levels on main river Godavari will result in extensive submersion of temple town of Bhadrachalam, habitations, forests etc and cause irreparable damage. The heavy water plant Manuguru situated at a distance of about one km adjacent to Dummugudem anicut on main river Godavari is also bound to face impact of flooding, Muralidhar wrote.
He pointed out that there would also be local streams joining river Godavari in the limits of Telangana and will face drainage congestion along the river banks in Telangana territory. The Telangana government has already sought demarcation of the areas affected due to drainage congestion along Kinnerasani and Murreduvagu rivers and take necessary safeguard/protection measures against such drainage stagnations. Though the PPA requested the Andhra Pradesh government for necessary action for demarcation of such areas, a response is still awaited, the EnC wrote.
He wrote that the studies carried by CWC/AP thus far do not contain critical information like backwater levels, cross sections at historical temple town of Bhadrachalam and at Manuguru heavy water plant.
The water depth at Bhadrachalam will be more than 28 feet throughout the year with the Polavaram project at MDDL condition (135 feet) and 43 feet if FRL (150 feet) is maintained at Polavaram, Muralidhar wrote.
NAIDU RESPONSIBLE FOR DELAY: AMBATI
Vijayawada: Andhra Pradesh Minister for Water Resources Ambati Rambabu reiterated that if there is anyone to be blamed for the delay in the Polavaram Project construction, it should be former Chief Minister and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu. Addressing a press conference Saturday, the Minister said the grave sin of Naidu is that he constructed the diaphragm wall without completing cofferdams, which resulted in the diaphragm wall getting damaged during the 2020-21 floods