VIJAYAWADA: Several colonies in the low-lying areas downstream of the Prakasam Barrage were flooded as there was a heavy discharge in the small hours of Friday.
The first flood warning was issued at the Prakasam Barrage where outflow crossed 4.5 lakh cusecs. At 12 noon, the flood outflow at the barrage was 4.56 lakh cusecs. All the 70 gates of the barrage were lifted to let out the surplus water
As the floodwater entered their houses, people in Bhupesh Gupta Nagar, Tarakarama Nagar, Ranigari Thota and other areas in Krishna Lanka of Vijayawada city were seen moving their household articles to higher and drier places. While some moved out to relief camps set up at IGMC stadium and two other places in the city, several others refused to move out. Vijayawada Municipal Corporation officials were seen trying to convince the people in those flooded colonies to move out.
On the other hand, the Krishna district administration has moved out people from Lanka villages downstream of Prakasam barrage and is closely monitoring the situation in the villages along the river course. Similar measures were initiated in Guntur district on the other bank of the river. People were asked not to cross the river and canals.
The release of large volumes of water from the Pulichintala project and Prakasam Barrage was necessitated as one of the crest gates of the Pulichintala project broke and was washed away in the river. In order to install a stop and lock gate, water in the reservoir has to be depleted to less than 10 TMC from the existing 44 TMC. With water being discharged since Thursday morning, the inflows into Prakasam Barrage have been increasing and the first flood warning was issued in the early hours of the day.
Meanwhile, work pertaining to installation of stop-lock arrangements commenced on Friday afternoon and using a heavy crane, iron plates were being inserted into the groves at sluice number 16, where the flood gate broke and washed away.
Speaking on the occasion, Project Senior Engineer Ramesh Babu said that the water level has to be decreased to 37 metres. “Only at that point, the stop lock gate fitting works can be started. It takes 10-15 hours to fit the gate,” he explained. A team of thirty people including engineers and supervisors from the BECOM construction company is striving to install the stop-lock gate. These people have worked at the Polavaram project.
On the other hand, the government has constituted a committee with retired engineers to identify the reasons leading to the accidents and also to assess project safety.