‘Srisailam dam in need of urgent maintenance’

Foundation in peril if plunging pool erodes towards the dam, says Rajendra Singh

Updated - November 20, 2019 08:32 am IST

Published - November 20, 2019 12:30 am IST - Vijayawada

Rajendra Singh at the Srisailam Dam along with dam SE Chandrasekhara Rao on Tuesday.

Rajendra Singh at the Srisailam Dam along with dam SE Chandrasekhara Rao on Tuesday.

Waterman of India and Magsaysay Award winner Rajendra Singh has said the Srisailam Dam needs repair, protection and maintenance works urgently.

Following up a report on the damage caused to the dam, the downstream apron and plunging pool by the several floods that have battered it in recent times, Mr Singh visited the reservoir and interacted with the operations and maintenance officials.

Speaking to The Hindu over telephone from atop the dam, Mr. Singh said the dam Superintending Engineer told him that the plunging pool was growing and there was a need to arrest its growth. The foundation of the dam would be in danger if the plunging pool eroded towards the dam.

He said more men and money were needed for the maintenance of this dam on which the lives of lakhs of people depended. Top priority should be given to the issue.

‘₹60 crore needed’

Mr. Singh said he was told that around ₹60 crore was needed to take up works to prevent the “expansion” of the plunging pool both toward and away from the dam.

Several dams in the country were poorly maintained. Infrastructure was being developed but there was no proper maintenance, Mr. Singh pointed out.

Jalbiradiri national convener and environmental activist Bolisetty Satyanarayana said taking the financial position of Andhra Pradesh, the Union Government should ensure that Central Water Commission (CWC) included the protecting of plunge pool works under the World Bank’s Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) II.

The extended parts of the dam’s plunge pool should be filled with M50 concrete. The outcome of the underwater study made by NIO was expected in a couple of weeks. A Shallow Seismic Survey Report was also expected, Mr Satyanarayana said.

Staff shortage

Srisailam Reservoir Superintending Engineer Chandrasekhara Rao said there was an acute shortage of mechanics, fitters, electricians and others needed for operations and maintenance. The strength of the workers, which was 1,200 once, had fallen to a few hundreds, he told The Hindu .

There was an urgent need for various protection works to the dam and also need to arrest the expansion of the plunge pool through erosion, the SE said. River conservation and environmental activists Madhulika and V. Deepak were part of the team that visited the dam.

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