Nellore: Failure of officials to shift encroachers from irrigation canals in Nellore is posing a threat to the city with this year's monsoon just about two months away. The encroachments had led to flooding of several areas in Nellore city for more than three days during heavy rains in November last year. The canals which used to measure between 20 and 30 feet used to carry away storm water from the city but they have been reduced to 2 to 5 feet from their original size because of illegal construction of houses.
Officials were taken aback when they found buildings constructed right on top of the canal after closing them in some places. Last year, authorities summoned surveyors from different parts of the state to identify the original extent of canals and prepare the list of people living on encroachments. At the end of the enumeration, as many as 4,800 families were found living in the encroached portions.
Taking a serious view of the situation, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who stayed in in Nellore for three days during the floods, assured that steps would be taken to remove encroachments on irrigation canals within three months. Urban development minister P. Narayana, in a bid to avoid any outcry from the Opposition, decided to find suitable land to construct houses and shift the illegal occupants.
Though the alternative land was identified, construction has not started allegedly because of various issues including financial constraints. With the monsoon looming large over the region, the residents of the areas that affected last year are a worried lot. An ambitious proposal pertaining to a flood flow canal from Nellore tank to Penna river to protect the city from flooding is also in cold storage.
Sources in the municipal corporation said that Mr Narayana had instructed collector Muthyala Raju to pay special attention to the construction of houses and shift the people living on canals and demolish the illegal dwellings.