Work on the ₹174-crore vented dam-cum-bridge between Harekala on the southern bank and Adyar on the northern bank of the Netravathi has almost been completed and the Minor Irrigation Department has drawn up plans to impound water starting November.
“Electro-mechanical works on the vent gates are under progress while the gates have already been installed,” said a senior engineer of the department associated with the project. The process of facilitating electrical operation of these gates is on, while all civil works have been completed, he said.
In all probability, the ancillary works are expected to be completed in about a month, after which the department will begin closing the vent gates so as to impound water, said Assistant Executive Engineer of the department Vishnu Kamath.
At the same time, the department will plan to open the bridge for vehicular traffic too. Traffic cannot be allowed at present, though the civil works have been completed as vehicle movement will affect execution of electro-mechanical works.
An initiative of Mangaluru MLA and Deputy Leader of the Opposition U.T. Khader when he was Minister in the Siddaramaiah government, the project primarily seeks to provide potable water to residents of Mangaluru constituency, including the education hub around Konaje, Ullal, Talapady and surrounding areas.
It also seeks to irrigate about 260 hectares of land in Harekala, Pavoor and surrounding areas. Another major benefit of the project is that it provides direct access to areas around Konaje to National Highway 75 through the bridge.
While the department initially estimated that about 19 hectares of land around Harekala will get submerged in the backwaters, Mr. Kamath said that it is awaiting a final report from the National Institute of Technology-Karnataka at Surathkal about the exact quantum of land that will get affected. Nevertheless, the storage will be limited to the river bank height, he said and added that water will be impounded up to 2 m from the sil level of the dam.
Work on the project commenced in February 2020 and it was expected to have been completed in 18 months. However, the pandemic, flash floods washing away material and machinery and such other issues delayed the project by a few months.
While the bridge and the dam will be ready by the end of the year, the Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board has to make arrangements for supply of drinking water to the targeted areas. Pumping house and related paraphernalia will be built in due course.