Hyderabad: The Telangana government on Tuesday blamed the Polavaram project under construction in Andhra Pradesh for the recent floods in Godavari, sparking a new interstate dispute.
Transport Minister P. Ajay Kumar said on Tuesday that there had been negligence in the drainage of water from Polavaram which led to flooding in Bhadrachalam, inundating parts of the town and several villages along it. along the course of the river in Bhadradri Kothagudem district.
The minister demanded that the Andhra Pradesh government reduce the height of the Polavaram dam to prevent flooding in Bhadrachalam due to backwaters.
He said Telangana had asked the neighboring state to reduce the height of Polavaram.
Several public officials from Bhadradri Kothagudem district also made the claim and blamed the Polavaram project for the floods.
Following heavy rains in the watersheds and massive inflows upstream, the flood level in Bhadrachalam last week crossed 71 feet, the highest in more than three decades.
Around 25,000 people from flood-affected areas have been evacuated to relief camps.
Minister Telangana’s request came days after Andhra Pradesh raised the height of Polavaram’s upper cofferdam by one meter.
The executing agency, Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Ltd (MEIL), took over the height increase works on July 15 and completed them within 48 hours.
With officials estimating that the project could receive inflows of 26 lakh cusecs to 30 lakh cusecs, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had approved a proposal to increase the height of the cofferdam.
The upper cofferdam was built to withstand 28 lakh cusecs of flood water. In the event of a major influx, the water could overflow the structure.
The Andhra Pradesh government had already decided to increase the height of the Polavaram cofferdam from 40.5 meters to 43.5 meters.
The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh has already ruled out reducing the height of Polavaram from the approved height.
Minister Ajay Kumar also demanded that the Center return seven mandals (blocks) to Telangana which merged with Andhra Pradesh in 2014.
He also demanded that at least five villages near Bhadrachalam be merged with Telangana and that a bill in this regard be passed in the current parliamentary session.
Telangana’s demands risk sparking a new feud between the two states.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) had lodged a strong protest with the Center after it issued an order to merge seven Telangana mandals with Andhra Pradesh. This was apparently done to avoid any inter-state disputes as several villages in these mandals are likely to be overwhelmed by the Polavaram project.
The Telangana government called the decision unilateral and asked the Center to revoke it.
Since Polavaram is a national project, the Center should take the initiative to reduce its height.
He said Polavaram’s original design had been modified to increase its height by three meters.
MP Sandra Venkat Veeraiah said that for a permanent solution to the flood problem, the cooperation of the government of Andhra Pradesh is needed.
He said that if the height of the Polavaram project is not reduced, it will lead to the emergence of tribal villages.