Andhra Pradesh

Veligonda project racing towards completion

Only 1.4-km work in tunnel I is left under the 
Veligonda project in Prakasam district.

Only 1.4-km work in tunnel I is left under the Veligonda project in Prakasam district.

Work on the multi-crore Poola Subbaiah Veligonda project, an engineering marvel with twin giant tunnels drilled underground so as not to disturb the natural environment of big cats in the Nagarjunasagar Srirsailam Tiger Reserve, has picked up pace.

With just 1.4 km leftover work in tunnel I, the first phase of the project, which was given a big push by late Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy under the ‘Jalayagnam’ programme and given top priority by CM Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy now, is all set for completion by next kharif, according to official sources.

The project has been designed to draw 43.50 tmcft of flood waters from the Krishna by gravity to irrigate 4.47 lakh acres in Prakasam, Kadapa, and Nellore districts, and provide drinking water to 15.25 lakh people in the fluoride-affected parts. It suffered time and cost overruns in the past because of the enormity of tunnel boring works taken up with the machines procured from Germany and the U.S.

“Nine metres of drilling work is being done each day and the first phase will be completed by June or July 2020,” said Veligonda Superintending Engineer Reddiah after overseeing the progress of work at the project site. “Drilling work has been completed up to a distance of 17.4 km and the remaining work is being taken up on a war-footing to ensure water for farmers in August 2020 or so during the time in which floods can be expected in the River Krishna.”

He said 60% of head regulator work at Kollamvagu, designed to draw water from the foreshore of Srisailam, has been completed and the remaining work will be completed in about six months.

Reverse tenders

The State government has decided to go for reverse tendering to carry out the remaining work in the case of tunnel II costing about ₹553.13 crore. “Once it is finalised, about 7 km drilling work will be taken up swiftly and the next phase of the project completed in two years,” he said. Tunnel II has been drilled to a length of about 11 km till date.

Already, Nallamala Sagar reservoir has been completed by closing the hill gaps at Sunkesula, Gottipadia and Kakarla to impound Krishna water once the herculean task of drilling tunnels is completed. The project was originally scheduled to be completed in 2008.

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Printable version | May 16, 2022 8:57:31 am |