Andhra Pradesh

No end to roadblocks for Veligonda project

Tunnel excavation of Veligonda project in Prakasam district proves to be a Herculean task.Photo: Kommuri Srinivas  

It appears there is no end to the roadblocks for the Rs. 5,150-crore Pula Subbaiah Veligonda project aiming at bringing in Krishna waters from the Srisailam reservoir to end the water woes of Prakasam, Nellore and Kadapa districts.

The time and cost overruns have put paid to the hopes of the people to see the project coming to fruition even a decade after its conception under the ‘Jalayagnam’, thanks to repeated extension of the deadline for a variety of reasons, including technical snags. The project involves drilling of two tunnels over a stretch of 18.8 km each under the Nagarjunasagar tiger sanctuary.

For the purpose, Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) was imported from Germany and USA as the hazard-prone manual blasting is ruled out since Nallamalla is the home for the big cats. But, it was damaged when it was drilling a portion of the tunnel roof which collapsed on it and the same had to be rectified by experts from Italy.

The project envisaging bringing in 53 tmcft of Krishna water from the foreshore of Srisailam project for 45 days per annum to ensure irrigation water for 4.5 lakh acres in the three districts and drinking water supply to 15.25 lakh people in the fluoride-affected areas has hit a road block again with the contractors pressing for revision of the project cost by the State government.

The project was conceived when one Euro was equivalent to Rs. 60 and now, it has gone up to Rs. 70. This is why the project cost needs revision for resumption of the tunnel excavation work, official sources say. The government has constituted a high-power panel to rework the project cost, reveals Veligonda Project Superintending Engineer M.V. Ramanamurthy.

While the first tunnel has been drilled to a distance of 12 km, the work on the second has been completed up to 8 km only. So far, more than Rs. 3,000 crore has been spent on completion of 60 per cent of the work, he said.

“The project has crossed a major hurdle by getting the environment clearance from the Centre. The land acquisition for rehabilitating the evacuees is going on at a brisk pace,” he added.

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 6:31:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/no-end-to-roadblocks-for-veligonda-project/article6797958.ece

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