Visakhapatnam: Residents in several areas told tourism minister Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao on Tuesday that the series of encroachments on drains and failure of the underground drainage system have been causing severe floods in Visakhapatnam city every monsoon.
The minister visited several low-lying areas in the city and Bhimili, his home constituency, and spoke to those facing inconvenience due to massive flooding. At Ellapuvanipalem, close to the airport that was also flooded on Monday, the residents alleged that encroachments onto the storm canals and poor drainage caused the flooding. When construction permission was given to apartment builders, the authorities did not insist that they must also facilitate discharge of water and waste from such colonies to safe zones, and flooding of the city was the result, they complained.
The minister asked officials to remove the encroachments so as to facilitate free flow of stormwater.
Mayor Golagani Hari Vekata Kumari said each of the 98 wards under the GVMC limits were given Rs 1.5 crore under Smart City funds towards drainage and roads and the officials were told to complete the works in the next six months.
She said Poorna Market and Gnanapuram were the worst-affected areas and GVMC commissioner Srijana was told to talk to the VPT authorities to open the gates to allow free flow of stormwater into the sea.
“GVMC is taking all steps and we may not have flooding in the city from next year,’’ the mayor told DC.
City secretary of the CPI(M) and GVMC council floor leader Ganga Rao said the corporation has completely failed in managing the storm water discharge. The underground drainage system was a failure and there was no system yet to drain out water from the low-lying areas.
“The flooding of the National Highway at Hanumanthawaka, where there was knee-deep water, indicated the negligence and failure of the GVMC,’’ Ganga Rao alleged and felt the Smart City concept was a “crude joke” on the people of Vizag. He said the underground drainage system was not interlinked from one area to another; and, as a result. floodwater was overflowing and getting stuck in many places.
“Instead of wasting crores of rupees on Smart City projects, the GVMC should focus on drainage systems to give relief to the residents who have been paying taxes through their noses,’’ Srikanth Sharma, a resident of MVP Colony said.
Arati Srivatsav, IT professional working in Vizag, said the GVMC was playing with the lives of people by failing to manage the floods. She referred to the Hyderabad case where a techie got drowned in the storm drain and died two days ago....