A crest gate at the Pulichintala Irrigation Project in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh broke and got washed away while it was being raised to release flood waters in the wee hours of Thursday.
Revenue department officials in Krishna district started evacuating people from low-lying areas along the river as the flood discharge will steadily increase to 6 lakh cusecs by Thursday night.
A flood alert has been issued for downstream areas and at Prakasam Barrage in Vijayawada. Gate number 16 at the project broke around 3am when engineers were trying to raise two hydraulic-operated gates to let off the heavy inflow of water that the dam received overnight. The gate got stuck and the force of the water blew it away.
Krishna District Collector J Nivas and Guntur District Collector Vivek Yadav issued flood alerts to all villages along the river as Pulichintala officials raised more gates to discharge flood waters to reduce pressure on the dam and start work on erecting an emergency gate.
Irrigation (water resources) Minister P Anil Kumar visited the dam in the morning to take stock of the situation. “The welding joints of the gate gave away under the tremendous pressure of water and it came apart completely and got washed away. They are trying to erect another gate,” an official said.