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Rubber dam dedicated to the nation

MAJOR STRIDE: Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy with Parvathipuram MP V. Kishore Chandra Deo at a public meeting after inaugurating the rubber dam in Viziangaram district on Sunday. Minister for Major Irrigation Ponnala Lakshmaiah looks on. - Ph oto: C.V. Subrahmanyam

MAJOR STRIDE: Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy with Parvathipuram MP V. Kishore Chandra Deo at a public meeting after inaugurating the rubber dam in Viziangaram district on Sunday. Minister for Major Irrigation Ponnala Lakshmaiah looks on. - Ph oto: C.V. Subrahmanyam  



M. Malleswara Rao

Chief Minister vows to go ahead with ambitious 'Jalayagnam'



RAJYALAKSHMIPURAM (Vizianagaram district): India's first rubber dam installed across the Janjhavathi was dedicated to the nation on New Year day by Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy amidst a large gathering of villagers and farmers.

The site is 15 km from Parvatipuram, where the naxalite movement was launched three decades ago and continues to be a stronghold now.

The Chief Minister flew in here by helicopter amid tight security with every vantage point manned by armed policemen.

Dr. Reddy inflated the dam to increase its height and released the impounded waters into the canal serving 9,000 acres, both by pressing the button. Plans have been drawn up to achieve the ultimate target of 25,000 acres by June after excavating distributaries.

Unique distinction

The rubber dam on the Janjhavathi is the first to be erected in Asia, said Werner Panhauser, manager, Hydro-Construct of Austria, which fitted the pre-fabricated dam.

Austria offered it for Rs. 5 crores following negotiations held in that country by Major Irrigation Minister P. Lakshmaiah.

The dam is the first one to be completed as part of the ambitious Jalayagnam launched by the Government to complete 30 major and 16 medium irrigation projects at a cost of Rs. 65,000 crores.

Projects in pipeline

In a brief speech, the Chief Minister said 10 more projects would be ready by kharif to serve 7 lakh acres, to start with.

Dr. Reddy said completion of Janjhavathi augured well for Jalayagnam and declared it his New Year gift to the State as the gathering cheered him lustily. He affirmed that he would complete the yagnam, come what may.

Ministers -- P. Lakshmaiah, S. Vijayarama Raju, B. Satyanarayana Rao-- and area's MLAs, spoke.

Andhra Pradesh chose rubber dam for Janjhavathi as a temporary measure following objection by Orissa whose border starts very close to the site, against constructing a full-fledged conventional dam without its clearance.

Full impounding under such a dam would submerge three Orissa villages. Andhra Pradesh had constructed only a platform across the river-flow portion after almost completing all segments of the Rs 125-crore project.

It is trying to convince Orissa by offering a half of the water available in the river, 8 tmcft annually, and compensation to the lands marked for submersion. It wants to translocate the rubber to other areas after constructing the concrete dam.

Bullet-proof

The rubber dam, which resembles a cycle tube, can be inflated for increased height to store more water and deflated when excess water is to be let out.

Water, and not air, is introduced into the tube for both purposes.

The rubber is 10 mm thick and is reinforced with three layers of nylon mesh. It can't be cut by knife and is bullet-proof, explained Mr Panhauser.

The rubber dam is 60 metres long and 3.5 metres high, storing 0.6 tmcft.



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