AP police mull forced eviction to move unwilling people
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Last Updated: Sunday, October 04, 2009, 22:08
Vijayawada: With flood situation in this Andhra Pradesh district looming large, the authorities here are convincing people to move to the relief camps and mulling to use force to evict the unwilling villagers.

The adamant villagers are refusing to move to safety despite a surging water level in river Krishna even as water discharge at Prakasam Barrage here crossed eight lakh cusecs this evening, official sources said.

The water inflow is expected to rise to over 10.5 lakh cusecs by midnight today as that much quantity of water has already been released from the upstream Nagarjuna Sagar Dam.

This will by far be the heaviest flood in about a century but villagers who live in tiny island habitations along the river are reluctant to vacate their houses, they said.

"It has becoming inevitable for us to use force and evict the people as our prime concern is to ensure there is no loss of human life," Vijayawada Police Commissioner K V Rajendranath Reddy said.

In Vijayawada city alone, more than 1.40 lakh people were affected by the flood but so far only about 50,000 people have moved to relief camps.

Authorities from Chevitikallu village upstream the Prakasam Barrage in Krishna district, which is on the banks of the river, said the villagers there were not heeding to their advice to move to the relief camps.

"The situation becomes alarming with the water level rising to record levels. We have little time left to move the affected people to safety," a district official pointed out.

But the villagers refused to buzz claiming they will tackle the situation on their own.

"We have seen many such floods in the past and nothing will happen to us," one of the villagers in the area said.

In Thotlavalluru mandal downstream the Prakasam Barrage, a similar situation prevailed as villagers refused to move to relief camps.

"We are now trying to forcibly evict them from the village as the flood threat is looming large in the area," the local revenue officer said over phone.

A team of officials led by special officer (flood relief operations) Rajiv Sharma, which went round areas abutting the river bank in and around Vijayawada, asked people to move to relief camps.

While some villagers complained that there was hardly any space left in those camps even as the officials assured them that adequate space has been created to accommodate all the affected people. "There is no space for us at the camps," a group of women told the team at Padavalarevu.

"We have arranged food, milk, drinking water besides medical teams to take care of all your needs. But please move to the camps immediately so as to avert any tragedy," the officials told the reluctant people.

Meanwhile, voluntary organisations have been roped in to arrange food, drinking water and milk to people in relief camps, officials said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister K Rosaiah has lauded all the departments concerned for timely evacuating lakhs of people to safer areas.

"The officials at the state-level and district-level did a commendable job in the last three days in preventing huge loss to human lives so far and ensuring their safety," he told reporters in Hyderabad today.

The Chief Minister said the government would now focus on reconstruction works, repairing of damaged roads and restoration of power and communication facilities in the flood-hit areas.

"There was an extensive damage to electrical installations in Kurnool, Mahabubnagar and Krishna districts and all these have to be repaired and power restored in all areas," he said.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, October 04, 2009, 22:08

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