Having been through one of the worst floods of recent times, the Naxal-affected tahsil town of Bhamragad, Maharashtra is awaiting a permanent solution to the annual inundation due to the Parlkota river.
“This year was the worst since 1994 that had witnessed the highest flood level. Several villages along with the city had been cut off for the past two months due to flooding in Parlkota river,” Collector Shekhar Singh told The Indian Express.
Stating that Parlkota is generally prone to quick flooding, Singh said “this time there were more such instances since the Indravati river in which Perlkota empties some distance away from Bhamragad was also in spate due to heavy rain in its catchment area in Chhattisgarh,” Singh said.
“There were about five to six such times when the town was flooded. We had to evacuate over 500 families over the past few days. We have requisitioned Health and Revenue staff from other parts of the district to assess the damage and help people facing health problems,” Singh said. The administration is also reaching out to the interior villages that have been cut off due to the flooding.
Till date, there are no reports of any human death in the tahsil. “We still don’t know if there have been any deaths in the interior parts,” Singh said.
Asked if the administration is planning any permanent solution to the recurring problem, Singh said, “we need to resettle the people living on the riverside, for that we need revenue land, which is not available. We are looking at some privately-owned lands to check if we could take them over for the purpose. Rest all is Forest Department land.”
Meanwhile, the bridge over Parlkota that connects Bhamragad to the district headquarters, about 180 km away, also gets submerged in just a few heavy showers. It is proposed to be replaced with a raised structure but the proposal is yet to make any headway.
An activist said, “Forest land can’t be an excuse. If the government can give away hundreds of hectares in a lease to mining companies, why can’t it be taken to resettle the people who have been facing this problem for decades?”