Andhra Pradesh

Unprecedented inflows led to Annamayya bund breach

VIJAYAWADA: Explaining the circumstances that led to flooding of villages downstream of Annamayya project on Cheyyeru last Friday (November 19) following a breach to its bund, to Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy at a review meeting on Wednesday, officials, led by Kadapa District Collector V Vijayarama Raju said unprecedented heavy rains in a short span of time had led to flooding of almost all irrigation projects.

At 8.30 am on November 18, Pincha project had inflows of just 3,845 cusecs and between 6 and 8.30 pm on the same day, they increased to 90,464 cusecs. In 24 hours (from 8 am on Thursday), 50 mandals of the district received an average rainfall of 10.7 cm. Further, the rains that lashed Seshachalam Hills in Tirupati and other parts of Chittoor district led to heavy inflows into Cheyyeru catchment area. Heavy rains in Piler and Rayachoti at the same time increased the inflows abnormally. Pincha is the first project on Cheyyeru, followed by Annamayya located in the downstream. Discharge capacity of Pincha is 48,000 cusecs only and on November 18, it received more than 50,000 cusecs and similar discharge rate was observed at Annamayya project.

On November 18 midnight, the inflows into Pincha touched 1.17 lakh cusecs, which is more than 2.5 times. In the early hours of Friday, the Pincha project breached and the floodwater rushed downstream to Annamayya project.

At 1 am, the inflows were 2.3 lakh cusecs and by 5.30 am, the volume crossed 3.2 lakh cusecs. The discharge capacity of Annamayya project is only 2.17 lakh cusecs. In the 50 years history of Annamayya project, it has not received such huge volume of inflows. The unprecedented pressure on the project led to breach of the bund and subsequent deluge. Even 24 hours after the breach, the inflows into Cheyyeru had not subsided. The officials had alerted the villages downstream of the project on November 18 itself. About 1,250 families are living in the villages downstream. As many as 400 families living in the low-lying areas were shifted to safer places. The preparedness of the district administration and its efforts had saved several hundreds of lives, the officials said.

An APSRTC bus fell into floodwater from Nandaluru bridge, in which 10 people were killed. About 45 people were rescued by the SDRF team. The family of a priest performing puja at Shiva temple on the bank of Cheyyeru downstream of Annamayya project, drowned. Ten people were killed in the incident. The officials informed that they ensured deployment of helicopters by Friday evening itself to take up rescue and relief operations, thereby preventing more loss of life.

By Saturday morning, food packets, drinking water were distributed in the flood affected areas, they said.
Other projects, including Buggavanka, Gandikota and Mylavaram, also received heavy inflows. Buggavanka received inflows at discharge rate of 30,000 cusecs. From Veligallu project to Papagni river, flood discharge was 90,000 cusecs, while flood discharge from Anantapur through Chitravati was 90,000 cuecs.

TDP neglected Annamayya project: CM

Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy blamed the negligence of the previous TDP government in strengthening Annamayya project for the bund breach, which resulted in loss of life. Inflows to Pincha and Annamayya projects were beyond their flood discharge capacity. Annamayya project should have been designed to release 2.85 lakh cusecs of water, but was designed to release only 2.17 lakh cusecs. Unfortunately, the project received inflows of 3.25 lakh cusecs triggering breach of the bund.