Police avert 'big fight' at Prakasam Barrage

The “showdown” of the verbal kind between former MP Vundavalli Arunakumar and Rajahmundry MLA Gorantla Butchaiah Chowdary over the issues surrounding the Pattiseema Lift Irrigation Scheme and the Polavaram Project, including corruption, was averted by the police here on Tuesday.

Mr. Arunakumar arrived at Prakasam Barrage in response to the challenge thrown by Mr. Butchaiah Chowdary, and was promptly picked up by the police and taken to the Krishna Lanka Station.

Mr. Butchaiah Chowdary, who was coming by road from Rajamahendravaram, was detained at Gannavaram and not allowed to proceed to the city. The MLA dared the former MP to tell Krishna delta farmers that Pattiseema was not worth the money the State government spent on it.

Addressing a press conference after being released, Mr. Butchaiah Chowdary wondered why Mr. Arunakumar was unhappy when the farmers of Krishna district were happy that they were getting the water they needed from the Pattiseema project. Never before had Polavaram project works progressed at such a brisk pace, he said.

Mr. Arunakumar, who returned to Rajamahendravaram after being let off by the police, told The Hindu that “nothing can be more ridiculous than people from Rajamahendravaram trying to have a debate on Prakasam Barrage. I told the MLA that I am ready to go to his house.”

‘Costly proposition’

The Pattiseema and Purushottapatnam lift irrigation schemes would together cost ₹4,000 crore. The head works of Polavaram could have been completed with the same amount. Water was being pumped to Krishna delta, but at an exorbitant cost, he said.

Asked about the wealth being generated with the Godavari water as claimed by the TDP government, Mr. Arunakumar said the government was trying to create an impression that Krishna delta was a desert and that Godavari water had changed the scenario. Krishna water reached a little late to the delta, but there was sufficient water in the river, he said.

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