- Former Irrigation Minister Tummala says pillar of Medigadda sank due to the lack of strong base, the design also is defective
- Union Jal Shakti Minister Shekavat described the Kaleswaram project as defective design
- Engineers tight-lipped over the sinking of Medigadda barrage pillars
- BRS Govt. heads trying to show it as a small lapse
- Tension among the engineers over the tragedy
“We did not have a role in the design of the project or monitoring the construction of it. We are being blamed while the construction defects are exposed”, a key engineer in Telangana irrigation department lamented before his co-engineers on Medigadda project. No engineer in Telangana dared to make a statement on the issue.
When asked about the Medigadda barrage pillar sinking, former minister for Irrigation in United Andhra Pradesh Tummala Nageswara Rao said, “The contractor might not have dug the river Godavari to construct the pillars as per required depth. Lot of mud and sand will be available even 200 meters of depth in River Godavari. I think the contractor might have built the pillars on the mud and sand”.
In Polavaram, he said that the engineers had built earth-fill dam, rock-fill dam by diverting the river water to avert such defects. He said one cannot get rock soil in Godavari river till certain depth. Tummala said, “Pertaining to the KLIS design, it is costly one and the government should spend thousands of crores on power charges to lift the Godavari water to the upper barrages. Lifting of pumped water to the upper barrages will be futile in case of floods to the Godavari river. As per the present irrigation projects construction, the construction company will design the projects on its own and get bank loans on its own”. He said that then the State government heads had not taken the advice of the experts into consideration. He said that it is very difficult for Telangana to run the project with the present design.
An official, on condition of anonymity, said, “KLIS constructed by AP—Telangana based company in the name of L&T. There is no role at all for the engineers of Telangana irrigation department. These engineers used to visit the project at the time of VIP visits to show the progress. Frankly speaking, their (engineers) role is nothing but ‘tourist guides’.
Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat stated two years back, “The multi-crore Kaleswaram Irrigation Project would never get ‘national project status’ as it was constructed with a wrong design”.
A pillar of Medigadda bridge (Lakshmi barrage, which is part of the prestigious Kaleswaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS), sank due to reported heavy inflows and paralysing traffic movement between Telangana and Maharashtra. Engineers said that pillar number 19 of the 1.6 kilometer barrage had suffered heavy damage, causing a portion of the bridge to sag. Apart from pillar 19, pillars 20 and 21 also developed cracks. The State government said it suspected sabotage. Six experts from the Centre visited the project the other day.(eom)