Polavaram Irrigation Project: ‘Rs 2,000 crore needed to repair diaphragm wall’

By Express News Service

RAJAMAHENDRAVARAM: An expert team of the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) confirmed that the diaphragm wall at the Polavaram Irrigation Project was damaged and requires Rs 2,000 crore to take up repair works, water resources minister Ambati Rambabu said on Sunday. The experts, who recently visited the dam site, also felt that it was technically not correct to construct the diaphragm wall before completing the cofferdam, he added.

About Rs 400 crore was spent for the construction of the diaphragm wall and with the cost of raw material escalating, about Rs 2,000 crore is required to take up repairs for the same, Ambati explained. According to the team, huge pits were formed near the diaphragm wall in the river bed. Experts said construction of the project should be taken up only after the diaphragm wall is built.

Pointing out that the NHPC officials had conducted and completed the field investigation on the State government’s request, Ambati said they submitted a report on the condition of the diaphragm wall a few days ago. He said construction of the earth-cum-rock fill dam (ECRF) will be taken up after repairs to the diaphragm wall are completed.

“Had there been no technical problem in the diaphragm wall, construction of the ECRF would have been completed by now. But due to the previous TDP government’s irresponsible decisions, the diaphragm wall was damaged in the floods,” the minister added.

Stating that the YSRC government has spent money on the project from its funds to avoid any delay in the project, he hoped works can be taken up before the monsoons. Ambati added the next four to five months are crucial for the construction of the irrigation project.

Tech issues explained to engineers

Polavaram dam design review panel (DDRP) chairman AB Pandya and 38 experts visited the project site and reviewed the condition of the diaphragm wall. Principal secretary for water resources department  Sasibhushan Kumar explained the technical issues to the visiting engineers.

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