Authorities asked to take up controlled blasting near the project site

Home Minister says it is not easy to ban operation of seven-seater autos

HYDERABAD: Major Irrigation Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah has allayed the fears of Members of the Legislative Council over the safety of the Srisailam dam due to excavation and blasting.

Replying to a question by A. Revanth Reddy (TDP) about the damage to the embankments as well as nearby houses due to blasting or rocks, Mr. Lakshmaiah said that the Geological Survey of India and the Dam Safety panel had inspected the project in January and certified that there was no threat whatsoever to the structure.

Denying TDP member’s charge that sub standard work by the contractors was posing a grave threat to the project, he said the officials, after examining the matter, had concluded that there was no truth in them. Ten different works had been entrusted to contractors in the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode to execute the Srisailam Left Bank Canal, AMR lift irrigation scheme, Udayasamudram lift irrigation scheme, Dindi reservoir of SLBC tunnel and pumping stations.

The Minister said the residents of APGENCO colony in Srisailam had complained about vibrations caused by blasting. The agency executing the work was asked to undertake controlled blasting to reduce the impact on the adjoining areas. To another question, Home Minister K. Jana Reddy said the government was according top priority to bringing down accidents. He said 17,729 persons were killed on the national highways from 2005-2008. Referring to the demand to restrict movement of seven seater autos, the Minister said it was not that easy to ban their operations.

He recalled that the government had earlier banned seven seater autos but the drivers and others raised a hue and cry forcing the authorities to lift the restriction. The ban was in force only in the Twin Cities.