Minister visits Mullaperiyar dam

George Jacob

KOTTAYAM: Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran on Monday visited the Mullaperiyar dam to see for himself the findings of the expert committee appointed by the State government for the safety appraisal of the century-old structure.

During the inspection, the Minister was apprised of the leakages in the concrete structure constructed as part of the strengthening process of the main dam, which, according to Water Resources Department engineers, should be viewed differently from the seepage in the gallery.

The engineers maintained that the leakages in the concrete structure were the result of the failure of the structure to direct the seepage water to the gallery.

The Minister also inspected the baby dam where the expert committee had found water seeping through the earthen portion below the dam.

Mr. Premachandran visited the main dam, the earthen dam and the baby dam. N. Sasi, chief engineer, irrigation administration, expert committee member M.K. Parameswaran Nair, and senior officials of the Water Resources Department accompanied the Minister. The inspection party which left Thekkady by 8 a.m. reached the dam site by 9 a.m. and spent nearly one hour at the site.

Report within a year

Staff Reporter writes from Kumily: Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran said the government was expecting the detailed project report for the new dam at Mullaperiyar within a year.

Inaugurating an investigation sub-division of the Water Resources Department here on Monday, the Minister said the process would have to go through a five-step procedural formality. These include survey, investigation, design, estimate and preparation of the detailed project report. The engineers are hopeful of completing the process within the stipulated period, he said.

The government will have to follow Supreme Court guidelines while going through the process as the spot is a notified area. However, the government does not find any major bottlenecks as there is no need for any tree felling as the process was completed before 1979. Now all that remains to be done is drilling a few holes about 1,300 feet downstream, which was identified as the ideal spot by a joint team led by the Central Water Commission in 1979.

The official correspondence of the Water Resources and Forest departments is still going on for the purpose, he added.

The new investigation sub-division is the one shifted from Ernakulam to Kumily for the purpose. The office functions from the old grama panchayat office building in the town.

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