Flood-affected families in Bhadrachalam not willing to vacate houses

Residents have urged the government to streghten the bund and build a new one on the river bank

Update: 2022-12-09 19:05 GMT
People of the district have heaved a sigh of relief after floods have receded and traffic has been restored between Bhadrachalam and Venkatapuram as well as between Burgampahad and Bhadrachalam. Representational Image/DC

Khammam: The promise made by Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao to construct houses for 2,000 families in the flood-affected housing colonies of Bhadrachalam after the floods in July 2022 may not materialise.

Neither the state government nor the chief minister is to be blamed for this, though.

The flood-affected families are not willing to vacate their houses and hand over the land to the government even after completion of the proposed residential colonies elsewhere. Their land is located in a prime area of Bhadrachalam while the site for the housing complexes is not.

Moreover, the government proposed to construct two houses in each slot, one on ground floor and another on the first floor in a 120 square yard site. The government aimed to rehabilitate families from 2,000 housing units in the low-lying colonies in Subhashnagar, Santhinagar, Lowe Chapta, Silpinagar, Ashoknagar, Kotha Colony, Revenu Colony, Industrial Area and SMC colony that are prone to floods.

This plan meant that the beneficiary will not have a site or land of his own in the proposed colonies.

The real estate value would be too little for the proposed colonies, compared to the high price of the land in the flood-prone areas. All these existing colonies are in prime locations. There were small-time lodges in the area for the devotees to come and stay.

B Satyanarayana, running a printing press in Bhadrachalam and had a house in the flood-affected areas, said, “The land value in these colonies is more than Rs 13,000 per square yard. The value of the land is much less in the site proposed by the government. Also, there is no ownership rights to us on the land in the new colonies.”

The government had earmarked 12 acres for purchase at market value and decided to shift the non-vegetarian market to another place. Officials have estimated a spend of Rs 1,000 crore to complete the housing project for shifting the 2,000 households from the flood-hit areas. The government plan was to construct each two-storey house in a space of 700 square feet.

BS Reddy, a resident of Silpinagar, said, “The government housing project is not an attractive one. Our present house site is worth Rs 50 lakh. The house on offer to us is a smaller one compared to what I have now.”

The residents are considering a new proposal from the government – about laying of a new bund on two sides of River Godavari besides strengthening of the existing one. The idea is to protect the habitations from floods as also from the backwaters of the Polavaram irrigation project.

The government has asked irrigation engineers to make a report on the Godavari bund to protect the areas.

P. Chandrasekhar, resident of Subhashnagar, said, “It’s better to us to increase the height and strengthen the present bund as also build the bund on the remaining bank of Godavari river from where flood water is coming and inundating our colonies.”

Only 45 families out of 2,000 had given their willingness in writing while the rest are showing a hesitation to vacate their houses and handover the lands to the government. About 50 acres will be available if the 2,000 families vacated their houses. It will have good market value if flood water checks are effected in future by completion of the bund construction.

The government expects it can use the land for other purposes. Availability of land is less in Bhadrachalam after the transfer of seven mandals to Andhra Pradesh.

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