Uncertainty over diaphragm wall could delay Polavaram project
Jal Shakti Ministry has asked CWC to examine the need for a new diaphragm wall at the Polavaram project after AP govt’s repair plan, and submit its report within a week
Visakhapatnam: Uncertainty continues over the timely completion of multipurpose Polavaram Irrigation Project with the Jal Shakti Ministry asking the Central Water Commission (CWC) to examine critically on the need to construct the damaged diaphragm wall.
The decision has come following the recent decision by the Andhra Pradesh Government to repair the damaged parts and fill them with 48 lakh cubic metres of sand. The wall, a critical component of the project, which is hanging fire due to variety of reasons for a long time, was estimated to be repaired by spending Rs 2020 crore after obtaining clearance from the experts and officials from National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC).
The Centre, which gave national project status post-bifurcation, had earlier set June, 2024 as the deadline for completion of construction by the State Government. Due to delay in release of funds promised by the Centre and damage caused to the wall due to heavy floods in 2019 and 2020, the State had also sought extension of the deadline to June, 2025. The Centre is yet to respond to the request. "If a new wall has to be built it would certainly delay the project by several months," a senior official of Irrigation Department told Bizz Buzz seeking anonymity.
The Ministry of Jal Shakti set a week's deadline to CWC to submit its techno-feasibility report along with timelines and budget required for taking up a new diaphragm wall. The question of constructing a new wall will arise if the CWC experts come to the conclusion that repairs of the damage will be a compromise to the structural stability of the dam.
It is not clear how long it will take if a new wall is built over a length of 1.7 km. The State has already released amount for repair works. Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said recently at a review meeting of the project that they will not compromise on the safety parameters required for construction of the mega project. The YSRCP Government has been repeatedly blaming the erstwhile Telugu Desam Government for compromising safety while taking construction of the project leading to heavy flooding following damages caused to the wall.
During his recent visit to New Delhi, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had appealed to Prime Minister to approve the revised estimates of Rs 55,548 crore and immediately release Rs 17,144 crore on a priority to expedite first phase of relief and rehabilitation work for displaced families belonging to 36 villages. He also wanted immediate reimbursement of arrears of Rs 1310 crore spent by AP government.
He also asked the Centre to issue a directive to the Telangana Government to release Rs 7230 crore to APGENCO for power supplied from 2014 to 2017 by APGENCO to Telangana GENCO.