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River erosion gives them the jitters

B.V.S. Bhaskar

KONASEEMA (EAST GODAVARI): Erosion of Godavari riverbanks is giving sleepless nights to the people living in the Konaseema area.

The three distributaries of the mighty river – Goutami, Vainateya and Vasishta – are changing their course causing large-scale erosion leading to gradual disappearance of Lanka villages located on the riverbanks. Some 50 villages have disappeared in the last two years. This apart, the change in the course of the distributaries has damaged the revetments on the banks. Most of the villages in I. Polavaram, Mummidivaram, Inavelli, Kothapeta, Ravulapalem, Atreyapuram, P. Gannavaram, Mamidikuduru, Allavaram and Sakhinetipalli have been affected by the river erosion. Officials of various departments, including Minor Irrigation and Agriculture, have confirmed the phenomenon, which is more felt in the P. Gannavaram aqueduct. Hundreds of acres of agricultural lands are being affected due to change in course of the river and farmers are dismayed over the sudden change in the plantation pattern. Erosion is also posing a new challenge to officials.

People have begun to move out of villages in the Mummidivaram constituency as erosion of the river has affected agriculture lands situated some 30 feet above the riverbed in Serulanka, Saladivaripalem in K. Gangavaram and Mummidivaram mandals. Villagers from these areas have also lost their coconut groves. The river has changed its course at Saladivaripalem without flowing into the structure dug by Irrigation Head Works officials.

In Allavaram mandal, the Vainateya is causing damage to farm lands. The eroded land has been taken up for repair by the Head Works Department. However, irrigation officials are yet to look into a lot of disruption caused by erosion in Gopailanka, Rebbanapalli, Bendamoorlanka and Vodalarevu villages. And most importantly, the point where the Godavari joins the sea (near Antarvedi) erosion is more pronounced. Locals say the situation is alarming and calls for urgent measures. They have accused irrigation officials of inaction. Revetments laid by irrigation officials in Pedapudilanka, Lankala Gannavaram, Bellampudi, K. Munjavaram and K. Enugupalli villages have also been eroded along with land.

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