Kadapa: In their pursuit of real estate business and occupying lands across ponds and canals are main causes for the city floods. Kadapa remains inundated for the past two days and low-level areas are completely submerged.
Heavy rains on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday morning disrupted public life. From Krishna Circle to Apsara Circle, Devunikadapa Road and the old Municipality Road, one cane spot ‘ponds’ on either side. The road from bus stand to the court overlooks the canal. Water up to a height of 1.5 feet is causing serious problems for motorcyclists, and pedestrians, particularly from Ambedkar Circle to Om Shantinagar. Almost all the streets in Om Shantinagar and Prakash Nagar are flooded. Pits have been dug for underground drainage and buried with ordinary soil, making it difficult for two-wheelers to travel on the road. Low-level areas like Mrityunjayakunta, Bharat Nagar, Apsara, ANR Nagar, NGO Colony, SBI Colony, Jayanagar and Chinnachowk are inundated. Residents had to miss sleep as rainwater seeped into their homes.
After Kadapa became a corporation in 2006, the real estate business flourished. Kadapa has a population of 4.10 lakh spread over 164.08 sq km. The real estate boom saw promoters encroaching many ponds and canals and building new colonies. Pakkirupalli Pond, Mrityunjayakunta, Putlampalli, Vutukuru, Buddayapalle, Cherlopalli, Mutharaju Palli, Kondayapalle, Ramannacheruvu, Gurivireddy Kunta and Bachcharammacheruvu are under the minor irrigation department. Their total extent is 155.22 acres.
There are feeder channels that add rainwater to the ponds, and a surplus course and sluices that drain the rainwater after the pond is filled. Some ponds also have irrigation canals. As the entire city is at the foot of the Palakondalu hills, rainwater reaches the ponds and ditches. After the ponds are filled, the excess rainwater enters Buggavanka through the surplus courses. Irrigation officials say the water then heads for the Penna River. Engineering officials agree that in about 75 per cent of the ponds' offshore area, surplus courses have been occupied on either side of the canals.
A junior irrigation engineering officer told Deccan Chronicle that said the issue of encroachment of ponds’ offshore area and canals has been repeatedly brought to the notice of revenue officials. He said that many such shady real estate traders are occupying, bending, foreshore areas, surplus courses and selling them for handsome profits. Reportedly, about 25 acres of pond lands in the city have been encroached upon.
The issue came to the fore when after heavy rains, the overflowing water bodies infiltrated into residential areas. However, due to lack of coordination between revenue, municipal corporation and irrigation authorities, the encroachments are not cleared. One wonders how the town planning department gave permission for construction of residential houses on occupied lands.