The Union Government is prepared to consider grant of assistance to the Andhra Pradesh Government for strengthening the Krishna river bunds.
Mr. Mullapally Ramachandran, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, conveyed this to Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan in response to his representation to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh during his visit to Hyderabad on October 9, 2009. Party leaders Mr. Katari Srinivasa Rao and Mrs. N. Saroja Devi gave the gist of the communication received from the Union Minister at a media briefing here today.
Underlining the need for strengthening the Krishna river bunds, Dr. JP informed the Prime Minister that the river witnessed unprecedented flood of 25 lakh cusecs in October 2009 whereas the existing bunds had been designed and constructed to withstand floods of 10-11 lakh cusecs only.
The Union Minister informed Dr. JP that the Union Government would consider assistance if the State sent a detailed project report on strengthening the bunds. If the scheme is techno-economically viable, the Union Ministry of Water Resources would consider it for Central assistance.
In response to Dr. JP’s suggestion that a National Disaster Relief Force be stationed at multiple locations, the Union Minister disclosed that a battalion of the National Disaster Response Force would be located at Vijayawada.
On Dr. JP’s suggestion that hydel power generation units be flood-proofed, the Union Minister said that a committee of experts has drawn up specific recommendations and they will be communicated to States.
The Union Minister suggested that the State Government may constitute a standing committee of experts if felt necessary for flood monitoring and coordinated efforts at mitigating losses since flood control falls under the purview of States. He said a Central Water Commission officer stationed at Hyderabad could be included in the committee.
On Dr. JP’s suggestion that an expert committee be formed to study the climate change pattern in India, the Union Minister said that the Union Ministry of Water Resources has already constituted a Standing Committee of experts to assess the impact of climate change on water resources.
The Lok Satta Party leaders appealed to the State Government to shed its complacency, get funds from the Government of India and complete rehabilitation measures speedily. They wanted the Government to undertake clearance of sand-cast lands and make them fit for cultivation once again.
They pointed out that the Lok Satta had almost completed the works it promised in the four flood-affected villages adopted by it. It completed construction of classrooms in a school at Kesavaram in Mahbubnagar district, a protected drinking water scheme at Pulathota in Kurnool distrct, and a community hall at Oleru in Guntur district. The lift irrigation scheme taken up at South Chiruvolu Lanka is nearing completion.