State has cancelled rabi crop this year just to ensure that the modernisation is completed

The modernisation of the Krishna Eastern Head Sluice and the regulators on the canals that transect the city has run into troubled waters with the contractors and government officials not seeing eye to eye over minor issues.

Meanwhile, time is running out. The State Government has cancelled the rabi crop this year just to ensure that the modernisation works were completed, but these minor hitches may become reasons for contractors not taking up the works in the small window period available to them.

The contractor for the modernisation of the Krishna Eastern Canal Head Sluice has started work on the cross-bund needed for the drying up of the Krishna Eastern Main Canal bed. But the city police have refused permission for a request to close stretches of National Highway – 9 and Canal Road to traffic on either side of the main canal.

The contractor reportedly approached the Police Commissioner with a request to close these two roads to traffic at the same time for an unspecified period for the transport of material and machines. This was rejected by the Commissioner who suggested that traffic could be stopped on only one of these two roads at a time.

The closing of both roads at one time would considerably affect the traffic on the National Highway and in the city. To close the short stretch of NH-9 the traffic has to be diverted through the tunnel and then along the BRTS Road right through the heart of the city.

The consequences of plying of heavy vehicular traffic on Canal Road that is not designed for it have to be considered, VMC officials are saying. The retaining wall built to support the Canal Road has been constructed by re-enforcing the soil using geo-synthetic technology. There was a danger of the retaining wall collapsing again and blocking the canal if heavy vehicle traffic was allowed on it, they say.

The problem with the regulators on canals is of a different nature. The contractors have to engineer, plan and construct (EPC) the structure as part of the agreement. The contractors have submitted tenders for regulators without roads on them and they were finalised by the Irrigation Department. But now this has become a bone of contention between the contractors and the Irrigation department officials.

At a recent meeting held to approve the designs the Engineer-in-Chief has told the contractors that the designs could not be approved without a road on top of the regulator.