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SERIOUS: The damaged portion of the footbridge in Tiruchi . —
SERIOUS: The damaged portion of the footbridge in Tiruchi . —

Special Correspondent

Footbridge collapse hits collector well of Kambarasampettai pumping station

TIRUCHI: A pillar of a footbridge carrying water pipeline across the Cauvery sank into the river bed on Thursday, causing a major disruption of drinking water supply in the city.

The accident brought the Collector Well of the Kambarasampettai Main Pumping Station, which meets a large portion of city’s water requirement, to a grinding halt. About 30 million litres a day (MLD) is being pumped from here out of the total supply of 75 to 80 MLD.

With nearly 14,000 cusecs of water being released into the river for irrigation in the delta, repairing the damage has come as a challenge to the Corporation.

The Public Works Department has been requested to explore the possibility of suspending the water release into the Cauvery for some hours by diverting the flow from the Upper Anaicut (Mukkombu) into the Coleroon River.

This would enable the Corporation to build an embankment around the Collector well so that repair of the damaged structure could be taken up. The request was made after the Transport Minister K.N. Nehru inspected the site along with Collector T. Soundiah and Mayor Sarubala R. Tondaiman.

Water is being pumped from the Collector Well through a huge pipeline that runs over the footbridge. The bridge runs for about 300 metres between the Collector Well and the river bank, supported by 30 concrete pillars.

One of these, right on the middle of the river and close to the Collector Well, had sunk into the riverbed for about two feet early this morning, leaving a portion of the bridge almost dangling in air. The pillar is believed to have sunk apparently due to sand erosion.

The Corporation, ill equipped to meet such exigencies, fell back on the support of the Civil Engineering Department of the National Institute of Technology and the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).

After consultations, it was decided to erect a 23 feet high girder from the river bed to support the pipeline as a temporary measure.

Permanent repairs to the bridge could be made only after the water flow in the river was stopped, sources said.

Water supply to most parts of the City, including Thillai Nagar, Thennur, Anna Nagar, Puthur, Khajapettai, Cantonment, Vayalur Road, Khajamalai, Junction, Ponnagar and Karumandapam, would remain suspended for at least three days.

Other parts would get supply on alternative days. Corporation Commissioner T.T. Balsamy said water would be supplied through tankers to the affected areas.

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