Whose Polavaram failure?

-Galla S Kiran Kumar,Bureau Chief Telagana (Andhra Pradesh)

Today – Amaravati

 

CM Jaganmohan Reddy spoke on Polavaram project in the Legislative Assembly on Monday. What did he say? What lies in that? If we consider what evidence is already ready to say that they are all lies..


Your delay in work is the reason for the huge cut!

CM Jagan: First spillway should be constructed in Polavaram. After that the water should be diverted. After that diaphragm wall, upper and lower coffer dams should be constructed. The main dam should be built after all of them are completed. Chandrababu started the construction of 2.1 km upper coffer dam without completing the spillway and approach channel. It is not finished. A gap of 380 meters was left at one place and 300 meters at another place in the upper coffer dam. Two gaps were left in the lower coffer dam. The flood water has to go for a length of 2.1 km. Instead of going like that, it went through the gaps left in the upper coffer dam. 2.1 km. When the water had to go through these two gaps, the river was cut where the main dam was to be built. Ask a neutral person you like, regardless of party affiliation. This mistake is said.

Fact: Prior to undertaking any construction in the Polavaram project, the approvals of the Central Water Corporation, the Centrally appointed Dam Design Review Panel and the Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) must be taken. Before starting the construction works of diaphragm wall, upper and lower coffer dams, the constructions were taken by taking the permits. While the work was going on, the committees came and inspected it several times.


What caused the erosion that created the big problem in Polavaram?

After declaring the Po Lavaram project as a national project, the Center conducted a third party study with IIT Hyderabad experts on the developments till 2021. They visited Polavaram several times and analyzed the reasons behind the delay in construction of the project. They did not say that the cause of this erosion in Polavaram was the earlier construction of the coffer dam. It was concluded that this destruction happened due to non-filling of the gaps placed in the upper coffer dam in May 2019.

‘In 2020, Godavari experienced heavy floods. With flows of more than 22 lakh cusecs, massive sand erosion has occurred in the main dam gap 1 and 2 areas below the coffer dam. The river bed has been cut in three places. However this factor cannot be included in the category of factors beyond human control. It cannot be seen as a failure of nature. Inefficient planning is the cause of this destruction. The gaps in the coffer dam could not be filled in time. This is the main reason why the construction of the main rock and earth dam could not be completed on time.’


Severe delay in construction works

CM Jagan: The upper coffer dam has been completed. Where the lower coffer dam was to be raised by 30.5 meters, the work was not done as planned. Due to higher than expected flood and non-approval of designs, it was delayed. We have been able to build a lower coffer dam to a height of 21 to 23 meters. Polavaram works will start on war footing after the floods recede in November.

FACT: Isn’t it true that the Polavaram Project Authority was mistaken that the construction of the Lower Coffer Dam was not completed on time as a failure of the state government? Didn’t they write a letter that the Polavaram authority keeps warning about this matter from time to time that they could not complete the lower coffer dam despite being warned many times? On July 22, 2022, did not the Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) Secretary write a letter to Shasibhushan Kumar, Principal Secretary, Water Resources Department, with these matters? Does the letter not fault the failures of this government? Can’t the state government be questioned like this?

“In various review meetings from February to July 2022, we have been saying that the lower coffer dam should be completed by the end of July in various meetings held by the Central Hydropower Department and the Polavaram Project Authority.

*  25.46 lakh cubic meters of work is to be done in lower coffer dam. Only 3.37 lakh cubic meters of work was done. The work of the remaining 22.09 lakh cubic meters has been entrusted to a new agency, Megha Engineering. They are scheduled to work from November 2020 onwards. They have to complete this work by July 2021.

*  It is clear that the AP Water Resources Department has been lagging behind in completing the construction of the lower coffer dam on time. Due to this, the flood water went back over the lower coffer dam. The entire area where the main dam was to be built was flooded. All other developments arising from the current developments will delay the construction of the project. All this is the management failure of the state water resources department and the monopolist agencies that are constructing the project.


Is this significant progress?

CM Jagan: When we arrived, the approach channel was not completed. After we came to power, we started the approach channel work in the month of May. We have diverted water into the approach channel by June 2021. The approach channel will be completed by March 2022. We have completed the dam and also put spillway gates. Now the water is coming down. By June 2022, we have completed the works left by the Chandrababu government. This is significant progress.

Fact: The CM said that the approach channel has been completed. But still not finished. Another 36 lakh cubic meters have to be excavated. Easy soil excavation work was not done. According to Jagan’s first review in 2019, 64.08 percent of the main dam work in the Polavaram project was completed. According to the latest reports, 76 percent is complete. Is doing 12 percent of the work in three years considered significant progress?


Rehabilitation

CM Jagan: 20,946 families will be displaced if water is stored for 41.15 meter contour in Polavaram project. Of these, 14,110 families have been resettled. We have spent Rs. 1,960.95 crores for this. We will complete the rehabilitation of the remaining displaced families by October 2022.

Fact: According to the latest figures of the Polavaram Project Authority, only 9,299 people have been evacuated so far. Another 9,390 people need to be evacuated. Another Rs.2,173.61 crore is required for this. In fact, all of them should be rehabilitated before the completion of the upper coffer dam of the Polavaram project to the level of 41.15 meters. The Vaikapa government is proudly saying that they have completed the upper coffer dam. But due to the non-rehabilitation of thousands of families, the hardships faced by the refugees due to the floods of 2021 and 2022 are not all. The Chief Minister, who proudly said in the Legislative Assembly that this is the progress in the construction of the project, could not complete at least the first phase of rehabilitation.


What is the answer to these questions?

1. Who should fill the upper coffer dam gaps in Polavaram project? If only a 380 meter gap was filled in one place and a 300 meter gap in another place and the rehabilitation was completed to that extent, would there be such destruction?

2. The neutral experts you are saying have concluded that the failure was due to failure to fill the upper coffer dam gaps in time.. Is this failure not your fault?

3. Polavaram Authority meeting was held in the month of May 2019. Then she said that those gaps should be left like that. After that the floods came and went. In the 2019 floods, water flowed through those gaps, but nothing was eroded in the area where the main dam was to be constructed. By the time of flood in 2020, it is possible to work for 8 months. Isn’t it the government’s responsibility to fill the gaps in the upper coffer dam at that time? And whose failure??