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Belagavi: Even when people of Jamkhandi and Gokak taluks of Bagalkot and Belagavi districts of North Karnataka region are complaining of the government failing to construct houses and release of grants for floods that ravaged NK region last year, a major threat of another flood is now looming large with the region receiving incessant rains. The flood are coming at the time when the State is already grappling with Covid pandemic, which has made adverse impact on the finance of the State exchequer.

Owing to the heavy rains falling in Western Ghats and in parts of Maharashtra, the inflow has rapidly increased in the dams of both Maharashtra and Karnataka. Almatti, one of the major reservoirs of the State having full storage capacity of 123 tmcft, is presently having 97.70 tmcft of water with the inflow reaching 1.5 lakh cusecs. The authorities of Krishna Bhagya Jal Nigam Limited (KBJNL) have opened 22 of 26 crest gates to discharge the excess water flowing into the dam.

On Thursday night, the authorities discharged around 1.5 lakh cusecs of water. With more water being discharged, the administration has already issued alert to people living in Krishna River basin. Last year, when the region had hit by torrential rains putting the lives of people of out of gear, nearly 50 people had died and over 41,000 houses had damaged partially or fully. The government had declared 17 districts of the State flood hit where some 86 taluks had severely affected with several villages were inundated. Over 800 cattle-heads had perished, the standing crop of 4.30 lakh hectare land was destroyed, according to the official figures. The worst affected taluks were Jamkhandi, Badami, Mudhol and Gokak of Bagalkot and Belagavi districts where large-scale damage was witnessed. While villages had turned into islands, the roads and bridges leading to the towns had either submerged into the water or had damaged extensively.

Last year during this time, when the BJP government had came to power with the help of some 17, Congress and JD(S) MLAs who had defected from their parities, Chief Minister, B.S. Yediyurappa had a tough challenge in providing relief to the flood victims. Having not allotted any Ministries, Yediyurappa was touring alone to flood-hit districts which had attracted wrath of opposition. The Yediyurappa government had also faced ire of the opposition for not ensuring the adequate funds from the Centre for dealing with the natural calamity. The Congress which was up in arms, had sought Rs.5,000 crore interim relief and demanded the Union Government, let by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to declare the floods as national calamity.

Now, after a year of NK region going through agonizing calamity, the heavy rains lashing in some nine districts including NK region, the people are again in the fear of losing whatever they had salvaged to resume their life in a year. One of the reasons for the large scale damage is believed to be lack of coordination between the officials of Maharashtra and Karnataka in monitoring the outflow of water. It was accused that while officials of Maharashtra were not properly informing about the outflow of water from their dams, mainly Koyna which is a major dam, their Karnataka counterparts, too were failing to coordinate with them. This had resulted into release of huge quantum of water from the dam without giving ample time to the administration to prepare for the worst. It was only after the NK region getting extensively affected, the discussions were brought to table on forming a coordination committee of the officials of both States to monitor the flow of water. During the recent visit of Water Resources Minister, Ramesh Jarkiholi to Almatti dam for review, he had announced that a coordination committee would be constituted by discussion the matter with top-officials and Ministers of both States for managing the outflow of water.

Meanwhile, high alert has been sounded in nine districts of the State and government has deployed 15 teams of SDRF to tackle the crises. With more water is expected to entre North Karnataka region, tough task is ahead of the government to minimize the loss and provide relief to the flood victims even amid the Covid pandemic.