Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Dr YS Rajasekhar Reddy on Tuesday directed state officials to take up permanent measures to prevent the flooding of Visakhapatnam airport, now closed for the past 15 days due to inundation.
The chief minister directed a team consisting of engineers of irrigation department and the district collector and the municipal commissioner to study in detail and find out ways to contain the flooding of the airport.
He held a review meeting with Minister for Commercial Taxes Konathala Ramakrishna, Minister for Roads & Buildings and Ports Jakkampudi Rammohan Rao, District Collector Visakhapatnam Praveen Prakash and other senior officials.
Expressing concern over the serious situation prevailing at the airport due to flooding, he wanted the district collector to explain the steps taken so far in resolving the issue.
Dr Reddy directed the irrigation department to take up works for widening of the channels of Meghadrigedda reservoir Kondagedda reservoirs to prevent the flooding of the airport.
The irrigation department would execute the works including the job of designing drainage and flood control system on a permanent basis.
Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority and Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation would meet funds to the tune of Rs 60 crore for taking up the works jointly. He also directed the officials to take up temporary flood control measures immediately.
He directed the Secretary, Irrigation (Projects) Satish Chandra to closely monitor the works.
Taking into consideration the importance of Visakhapatnam as a fast developing industrial hub as well as its strategic location at the sea shore, the chief minister also asked the officials to revive the proposal for establishing a new international airport near Visakhapatnam.
He directed them to identify a suitable site near Visakhapatnam and forward necessary proposals to the Centre at the earliest.
Earlier, the district collector said that an unprecedented rainfall of 30 cm in 12 hours' time was recorded in Visakhapatnam earlier in October.
It was the highest in the last 100 years. This had resulted in the inundation of the airport for such a long time. The problem was also aggravated due to the expansion of the runway from 6,000 feet to 10,000 feet and upgrading of the present airport taken up at a cost of Rs 200 crore.