Hyderabad: Heavy rainfall is expected over the next few days in Telangana, with lakhs of people living in both urban and rural areas of the state worried about the threat of floods. Meanwhile, opposition parties are urging the state and central governments to compensate the people, especially farmers, whose crops were damaged in the recent unprecedented heavy rains.
“Heavy rain very likely to occur at isolated places in the districts of Sangareddy, Vikarabad, Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Medchal, Malkajgiri, Yadadri, Bhuvanagiri, Nalgonda, Suryapet, Narayanpet, Mahabubunagar, Nagarkurnool, Wanaparthy and Jogulamba-Gadwal of Telangana,” warned the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) for October 21 and October 22, adding, “thunderstorm accompanied with lightning very likely to occur at isolated places over Telangana.”
The IMD further stated that a low pressure area lay over the central Bay of Bengal may intensify into depression, causing heavy rains in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in the next few days.
Last week, extremely heavy rainfall across districts in Telangana caused massive devastation as roads were flooded, hundreds of low lying areas inundated and thousands of acres of standing crop damaged. According to reports, at least 50 people died due to the floods across the state with the government estimating a loss in the range of Rs 5,000 crore.
With rainfall expected over the next few days, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Wednesday asked officials to set up teams to monitor rivers and lakes in Hyderabad, and take measures to control the floods. “As the tanks in the city (Hyderabad) have water to their capacity and are still receiving inflows, they are likely to get breached causing more damage. Hence, the people residing nearby areas should be made aware of the breach and be shifted to safe places,” Rao was quoted saying.
According to the Telugu daily Eenadu, the number of lakes in and around Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) region has reduced to 185 from about 650 lakes earlier, over the past few decades. Reportedly, nearly 100 of those lakes have reached their full capacity and further heavy rains may lead to breaching of the lakes. According to estimates, there are about 800 colonies in which nearly five lakh people live.
Currently, across the 43,412 lakes in Telangana, 23,749 have reached full tank capacity, according to Eenadu.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi government has announced compensation for rain-affected families in GHMC – Rs one lakh each for families whose houses were fully damaged, Rs 50,000 each for families whose houses are partially damaged and Rs 10,000 each for families in colonies inundated with rain water.
While the state government is yet to estimate the crop damage in the October rainfall, farmers organisations estimate that at least ten lakh acres of crop under cultivation across the state was damaged in the rains. The damaged crops include cotton, paddy, soybean, pulses, groundnut, and corn, among others.
Opposition parties are demanding that the state and central governments compensate the farmers affected by the floods.
Tammineni Veerabhadram, general secretary of CPI(M), in a press conference on Tuesday demanded that the central government allocates funds to the state for compensation to farmers and affected families and for the restoration of damaged infrastructure. Stating that the rains have caused disaster-like situation in the state, Veerabhadram urged the Centre to estimate the losses and release funds for rebuilding the damaged houses and for compensating farmers.
In an open letter to CM K. Chandrashekhar Rao, senior Congress leader T. Jeevan Reddy said that due to the absence of insurance coverage to crops following a dispute between the state and Centre over the premium amount, farmers were not in a position to claim compensation. He demanded a compensation of at least Rs 20,000 per acre for affected farmers.