Polavaram works progressing full-throttle

What TDP did not do in five years, YSRC government is accomplishing them in 19 months

VIJAYAWADA: Works on Polavaram multipurpose project are progressing at a swift pace for the past 19 months, including during Corona times. Interestingly, while construction works in all irrigation projects were stopped because of corona, there was no stoppage at Polavaram.

The spillway pillars level is 55 meters and concrete works in a few blocks were completed up to 34 meters during the Telugu Desam regime, reflecting the slow pace of works.

Now they have gained in momentum and only one metre remains to be completed on spillway pillars, which is expected to be ready by next month.

According to officials, during Covid-19 lockdown, 1.41 lakh cubic metres of concrete works were completed. Later during the unlock period, the second biggest flood to Godavari river on August 18 with 22.90 lakh cusecs of floodwater created hurdles to the project works as water gushed into the spillway. Subsequently, the floodwater was shifted through the spill channel.

The spillway works started during TD government in June 2015 and till June 2019, the progress was snail-paced but YSRC government accorded top priority to Polavaram and went about it with vigour.

There are 48 radial gates to Polavaram which can store full reservoir level water up to 45.72 meters. Although spillway pillars should be 54 metres in height, a temporary iron sheet was fitted earlier at 34 meters height. Now in the past 19 months as many as nine radial gates were fitted out of 48 with the remaining likely to be fixed by April.

During the past five years, only 22 concrete girders out of a total 192 to the spillway bridge were constructed and now 170 girders have come up in the last 18 months.

As many as 48 slabs are needed the spillway bridge for transportation and other uses but not a single slab was constructed in the past five years. However, 40 of 48 slabs have been constructed in the last 19 months and the remaining eight slabs would be completed by February 15.

While none of the 49 trunnion girders required for fixing of gates and fixing of a fulcrum at 45 meters was completed in five years, today 40 trunnion girders have been constructed and all the remaining are set to be accomplished by the month-end.

The Polavaram power house was designed with 12 units with a capacity of 80 megawatts power generation and a total capacity of 960 megawatts for which powerhouse hill should be dug but only 18 meters was dug in the past five years. Now progressing at a brisk pace, all digging works are slated to be completed by March.

Earlier, only 1846 houses were constructed in the project rehabilitation colonies to provide shelter to 1,05,601 displaced persons from 222 villages. Now 11,500 houses have come up in 19 months and the government is taking measures to complete house construction on a war-footing to provide shelter to 17,860 displaced families by May.

Upper and lower cofferdams are required to construct earth-cum-rockfill dam but partial construction of cofferdams halted the works. The incumbent government hopes to complete upper and lower cofferdams by June.

The left and twin right tunnels works, including lining, which never took-0ff, is gathering pace and are expected to be completed by December.

Unlike the TD government, the present government has submitted designs of earth-cum-rockfill dam to the Central Water Commission, secured approval and started the works. They hope to complete the task by June. Similarly designs of the gap-3 concrete dam was not submitted to CWC and YSRC government procured the approval by presenting designs for gap-1 dam and works are progressing with two rigs. It is scheduled to be completed by June.

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