16-08-201916-08-2019 10:44:39 IST
2019-08-16T05:14:39.263Z16-08-2019 2019-08-16T05:14:26.569Z - - 08-04-2020
Leaders of the Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh seem to be running out of wits to deflect the public attention from the inundation of their chief Chandrababu Naidu’s riverfront residence in the midst of Krishna river flood fury.
For the first time in 10 years, the Krishna river is in spade due to copious rains and consequent floods in the upper catchment areas of Maharashtra and Karnataka. With unprecedented volumes of flood waters flowing down, irrigation officials have lifted all the gates of both Srisailam and Nagarjuna Sagar dams, letting out millions of cusecs of water downstream in the last few days.
This has caused flooding of several villages in the vicinity of the river at various places in Andhra Pradesh. Even the illegal structures on the river bank in Amaravati are facing submergence and the residence of former chief minister and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu is one of them.
As on Saturday morning, the walkway that was constructed into the river was completely submerged while the ground floor of the river-view residential building was almost inundated. Realising the flood threat, Naidu’s family left for their Hyderabad residence about three days back. Only workers deployed for the task of river-bund strengthening are being seen carrying thousands of sacks of sand bags to prevent further flooding.
While the former CM’s convoy was moved to a nearby, safer resort, the furniture and other household items were said to have been shifted to the upper floors. With irrigation officials predicting more inflows from upstream, the situation is only expected to worsen, signalling the prospect of the former CM’s house facing a complete submergence.
While the authorities are grappling with the overall flood situation, the TDP leaders only seem to be interested in politicizing everything related to Naidu’s house and the flood threat it is facing.
Party’s Krishna district leader Devineni Uma Maheswara Rao, himself a former irrigation minister, accuses the YS Jaganmohan Reddy government of deliberately delaying the lifting of gates at the Prakasam barrage. The insinuation is that the YSRCP government wanted to wait until Naidu’s house gets flooded before acting, merely to justify its recent demolition of Praja Vedika, an illegal structure that flouted river conservation norms.
He also sought to link this up with other flooded localities on the river banks. Uma thinks the government, in its bid to target Naidu’s house, did not even hesitate to let other low-lying areas being inundated there by causing severe hardships to the poor dwellers there.
YSRCP’s Mangalagiri MLA Aalla Ramakrishna Reddy was quick to rebut Uma’s accusations. He said the former irrigation minister knows it better that all the information pertaining to the river water inflows and their release downstream from various outlets are properly recorded and shared among all government departments concerned.
He feels, now that River Krishna itself has demonstrated to the world how dangerous it is for Chandrababu Naidu to live in the illegally constructed guest house, it is high time for him to vacate the premises.
Whether it was purely a nature’s lesson for the encroachers or an alleged design of the YSRCP government, the unprecedented Krishna river floods have certainly put the illegal constructions back under the scanner. The guesthouse where Naidu has been living belongs to one of his close aides Lingamaneni Ramesh, a known realtor.
This is one of the many buildings on the river banks that were served notices recently for their violation of multiple norms including failure to maintain Maximum Flood Level (MFL). Chandrababu Naidu’s house is believed to have been constructed at 19.3 meters, which is way below the 22.6 MFL mark.
Despite the acrimony from the TDP men, the present flood crisis is only likely to pile more pressure on Chandrababu Naidu in the coming days. Any move to brush aside the criticism and stay put in the house can come with the risk of being negatively portrayed in the public domain.
The TDP chief and his son Nara Lokesh, perhaps, realized that they are on a sticky wicket on this issue. That best explains why the duo has suddenly been going hammer and tongs against Jagan with a torrent of tweets in the last few days. Interestingly, the father and son are taking potshots at the YSRCP government on every issue including the ‘illumination of secretariat and other buildings in Amaravati’. But not a word on their own building that is being consumed by the flood fury..!
-Durga Prasad Kanamaluru
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