Chandrababu Naidu's Praja Vedika violated many rules on Krishna riverbed: YSRCP govt
The YSR Congress Party-led government in Andhra Pradesh on Saturday clarified its motive behind its mega demolition drive across the state after the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) accused it of doing "vendetta politics" against former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu.
TDP cried foul after the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA) served notices to Chandrababu Naidu to vacate his current official residence and the party office in Visakhapatnam.
Denying any ill motive behind the demolition drive, a YSRCP government official said, "The river Krishna is one of the perennial and it is the main source of water to the entire Vijayawada and Guntur district. The illegal permanent constructions with a permanent retention wall on the base of the constructions will change the river's course during floods. The villages situated on another side of the bank are facing the threat of submergence if the floods hit in future," the official said, adding, "If 2009 flood-like situation repeats, the existing constructions on the river bank will cause diversion and huge damage."
Capital Region Development Authority has issued notices to 29 people for 31 illegal constructions on Krishna river bank (Karakatta), a top government official said.
Meanwhile, Jagan Mohan Reddy's YSRCP has said that its government has set an example by undertaking demolition of Praja Vedika, following the principle "charity begins at home".
YSRCP also alleged corruption in the construction of "Praja Vedika" A party member said, "On the instructions of the then minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MA&UD), bidders were invited to take part in the tender and were given only one week time at a cost of Rs five crore. Two bidders - NCC Limited and Ashoka Buildcon Limited - participated in the tender. However, the second bidder was disqualified to ensure NCC Limited gets the work. While the work was underway, the cost was escalated from Rs five crore to Rs 8.9 crore by changing the scope of work to benefit the contractor. "
A government official said, "All the constructions in the site located in between the Krishna River and its flood bank requires a NOC from the river conservator as a pre-requisite. Praja Vedika violated the provisions of the River Conservancy Act wherein the Act stipulates that it is necessary to take permission from the conservator of rivers. In this case, no permission was granted by the river conservator."
The official further clarified that the permission was rejected, saying that the ground level/field level is lower than the maximum flood level (MFL) and the building is located in a flood-prone area.
VIOLATION FOUND BY THE NAIDU GOVT AT KRISHNA RIVER BED
Violation of MFL maintenance rule: The maximum flood level (MFL) on the Krishna flood bank is 23.9 pts. The base level of the construction of Praja Vedika or any of the buildings constructed is at 19 mts. In this case, the constructions would be flooded even if there is no flood.
Violation of Lokayukta orders: The order states that all the encroachments on the Krishna flood bank above Prakasam barrage shall be removed.
Violation of Section 108 of APCRDA Act-2014: No development of any land layout or sub-division of plot or construction of building or change of use of any land can be undertaken without obtaining the development permission order from the Commissioner, CRDA -Praja Vedika was constructed without obtaining any permission from the Commissioner
Violation of Clause 606 of Amaravati Capital City Zoning Regulations and existing Acts/Rules: While taking up the development activities near water bodies, railways, heritage structures, oil/gas pipelines, the environment impact Assessment (EIA) notification shall be followed- No EIA notification was issued in the case of Praja Vedika.
Violation of zoning regulations of capital city master plan: The site falls in the active recreational zone as per the zoning regulations of Amaravathi capital city master plan wherein minimum site area required is 20,000 sq. Meters - Praja Vedika was not satisfying the zoning regulations regarding minimum plot size, setbacks and parking requirements.
There is every possibility of water contamination because the construction is less than two kilometres downstream from the point where drinking water is drawn from the reservoir. Since either side of the river bank is used for ritual baths and religious practices, it is the responsibility of the government to safeguard the spirituality and purity of the river.