Only age, not sand mining caused Mukkombu damage: TN CM
Deccan Chronicle | DC Correspondent
TN Chief Minister also announced construction of a new bridge about 100 metres from the collapsed structure at a cost of Rs 410 crore.
Edappadi K. Palaniswami, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Tiruchy: Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on Friday inspected the breached Mukkombu regulator near here and said the washing away of its nine shutters in the rain-floods of Cauvery was due to the age of the British-built structure and not because of indiscriminate sand mining as alleged by locals and environmentalists.
He also announced construction of a new bridge about 100 metres from the collapsed structure at a cost of Rs 410 crore.
"This Mukkombu regulator was built in 1836, so it is a very old structure. It was built almost 182 years ago, entirely with bricks. When the floods happened during 1924, 1977, 2005 and 2013, the surplus water had gone through the upper anicut, just over duration of 5-6 days. But now, there has been continuous flood - first for a period of eight days and again for 12 days. The structure has broken only because of the excessive pressure of the flood waters", the CM told the media after his inspection of the broken structure.
When a reporter pointed to allegations that the collapse of the nine shutters of Mukkombu was because of the large-scale mining of the riverbed sand, the CM shot back, "What is the connection between this (damage to regulator) and sand quarrying? Sand mining is done only up to a permitted area of the dam and not beyond that. This has been the case in all the governments in the state.
"Also, our government is taking steps to gradually ban all the riverbed sand mining and undertake public awareness campaign to get the builders to use M-sand for their construction works. Already, 20-30 per cent users have now turned to M-sand", the CM said.
Asked why the government did not undertake annual maintenance of the regulator to ensure it stayed in good health, the CM replied, "We are doing the maintenance through the year. Even in our case, don't we suddenly catch fever despite taking good care of our health all the time? We all look fine; does anyone know he will be hit by ailment?"
The CM maintained that the Mukkombu collapse "is just a temporary mishap" and the government has now come up with a new project to remedy the situation on a permanent basis. Steps are foot to build a new dam about 100 metres from the damaged structure, on both sides of Kollidam. While the structure on one side would cost Rs 325 crore, the other side would cost Rs 85 crore, making up a total of Rs 410 crore.
"The team of experts has indicated that the project can be completed in 15 months. The government will initiate steps to speed up work on this", the CM said.