Engineers should adopt the latest technological formulae while designing infrastrucute such as dams, check dams, weirs and shutters for irrigation management, said A. Mohanakrishnan, Advisor to Government, Water Resources Department, Public Works Department, Chennai.

Speaking at a function to mark the release of the book titled 'A few novel and interestig innovative irrigation structures conceived, designed and executed in the plan projects in Tamil Nadu' authored by him organised by the Irrigation Management Training Institute (IMTI) at Thuvakudy near here on Saturday, Prof. Mohanakrishnan said whenever a new proposal for construction of a dam or weir was taken up, it had customary for the PWD engineers to copy down the design executed in some previous project.

“Engineers should desist from this practice and instead introduce innovation, taking advantage of the latest technology”.

Grand Anicut, a marvel in stones

Describing the Grand Anicut, built by the Karikala Chola during the Second century A.D. as a marvel in stone, he said that this was the only oldest irrigation system surviving for the past several centuries. It had no foundation but applies the principle of permeablefoundation.

Mr. Mohanakrishnan said that although he had made a frantic search for assessing any historical or literary reference to the design and construction of the Grand Anicut at Saraswati Mahal and elsewhere, he could not trace any single material indicating

that no recorded information was available as to how the builders founded the Grand Anicut. “It should have been built out of sheer emergency for restoring irrigation facility, without any plan,” he said. Normally, an anicut or dam should be in a linear design. But the serpentine course of the Anicut testifies to the hard struggle during the Chola period in keeping the allignment in tact in the flowing waters.

M. Moorthy, Chief Engineer, Water Resources Organisation, Tiruchi Region, who released the book, advised the engineers to document the technical execution of their irrigation projects, so that future engineers could use it as a reference material.

R. Thangaprakasam, Chief Engineer (Buildings) received the first copy of the book.

P. Balasubramanian, Director of IMTI, said that the book brought out in detail the singificant features of a few innovative structures starting from the Grand Anicut. It was available for sale at the IMTI.

M. Selvarajan, Joint Director, IMTI, spoke.

“June 12, not relevant now”

Later talking to presspersons, Prof. Mohanakrishnan said that the usual formula of releasing the waters from the Mettur on June 12 was not relevant nowadays. “The schedule was applicable only till 1974 when farmers were fully prepared to irrigate their fields,” he said.

The scenario has now changed and the schedule for discharge of water from the Mettur should focus more on demand than on dates.

He also said that the irrigation engineers should hold a weekly meeting with luscars and farmers on Mondays. In this context, he referred to the proposal he had mooted years ago on the implementation of the 'Irrigation assessment and action plan'.

It envisaged a weekly meeting so that the basic and field level problems could be sorted out through a coordinated effort.