The repair work in the Mullaperiyar dam started under the monitoring of a three-member committee on Tuesday afternoon as per the permission given by the Supreme Court to Tamil Nadu for conducting maintenance works of the century-old dam.
The team reached the dam site by noon and made a preliminary survey of the works to be done in the second phase which mainly consist of clearing of the seepage water holes in the drainage gallery and air holes, most of which were in a state of block as timely clearing works lapsed for years in the past. There were 97 holes with some of them having block in the cavity. All the holes will be cleaned and it is expected to take at least a week. It is done for ensuring free flow of seepage water and air in the drainage gallery. The works consist of removing blocks in 25 holes in the gallery, 45 air holes and 25 holes horizontal to the dam structure.
The expert team consists of George Joseph, Superintending Engineer, Irrigation, Central Circle (Kerala); S.Mohanasundaram, Superintending Engineer Vaigai Circle (Tamil Nadu) and L.K.Taneja, director, Dam Safety, Central Water Commission. The three-member committee of the experts in the ranks of the Superintending Engineers was formed by the apex court to conduct the maintenance works. They reached Thekkady on Monday evening and held discussion at the Inspection Bengalow of the Public Works Department before proceeding to the dam site.
In the first phase of the works, the concrete coating works of the baby dam was done on October 9 and 10. In the third phase, the desilting of the 2.5 km stretch of the channel from the dam to the head sluice at Thekkady for carrying water to Tamil Nadu will be taken up. The desilting works are expected to be done soon as the water level in the dam is at a low level and the Supreme Court is to begin the final hearing of the arguments of both the State on the vexed issue on February 19.
Tamil Nadu has also sought permission from the forest department to conduct relaying of nearly a 5 kilometer road from Vallakkadavu to the dam site. For conducting all the maintenance works, it estimated about Rs. 30 lakh.