Despite Corona crisis, no stopping for Polavaram works

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Huge cranes and ready mixers rumble across the stretch…. countless workers swarm and sweat the swathe… Incessant work is on at the spillway. That’s Polavaram project these days!!

The engineers are proudly proclaiming that concrete works of the order of 100 cubic metres a day are being accomplished at the spillway. They say that the 48 gates would be installed and the spillway work would be completed by May 2021. “We will fill the coffer dams upstream and downstream soon after the floods recede and will divert the water via the spillway. This will ensure that the delta crops would remain unaffected in any which way. We will complete the two coffer dams by July 2021. Then we will take up earth-cum-rock fill dam works and hope to complete them by December 2021,” exulted the engineers working onthe project.

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Polavaram is a monumental example of what a determined government, a foolproof strategy and hard-working and never-say-die spirit of the Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited can do together.

Due to this synergy, the project works are racing towards realising a long-cherished dream. In the process an engineering marvel is taking shape to ensnare the swirling Godavari waters so that every droplet is used to turn barren stretches into lush green crops.

Action plans and Timelines

Lack of a proper planning and failure to understand the nuances and the utter absence of determination on the part of the erstwhile TDP Government have proved to be the bane of Polavaram. The works were haphazard and the progress was clueless. It was in these dire circumstances that Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy took reins of the project. He had unveiled an action plan to complete the project by December 2021. The action plan included coordinated and synchronised works on spillway, spill channel, coffer dam works upstream and downstream along with rehabilitation and resettlement works for the displaced persons. Regular and painstakingly methodical reviews and constant monitoring by CM YS Jagan and Minister Anil ensured that the works complied with the timelines. They ensured that the Central Water Commission gave its nod to the long-pending designs. This has helped speed up the works further.

No letup despite stalking Corona fears

The works were taken up in November last after the flood season to dewater the area between the spillway and spill channel.

Due to the Corona lockdown, a large number of the construction workers left for their home states of Bihar and Odisha. The State Government and the MEIL have worked out a plan to instil confidence in these workers and brought back over 2000 of them. Ever since, these workers have begun concrete works at the rate of 1000 cubic meters per day in the spill way and 2000 cubic metres per day in the spill channel. All this while, every care was taken to ensure social distancing and sanitisation of the employees. Till Wednesday, 2.77 lakh cubic metres of work (129 lakh cubic metres in Spilway and 0.98 lakh in spill channel) was completed. Now 2.62 lakh cubic metres of extent in spillway and 6.98 lakh cubic meters in spill channel remain to be completed. These works are expected to be completed by May 2021.

The remaining works on the upper coffer dam to an extent of 35.85 lakh cubic meters would be in November soon after the recession of the flood water. These would be completed by July 2021. From November, the water needed to irrigate the Godavari delta would be diverted via the spillway.

The ECRF works on the main dam, located between the upper and lower coffer dam to the extent of 117.69 lakh cubic metres would be completed by December 2021. Meanwhile the connectivities between the canals and the reservoirs wold be completed so that water can be supplied to the command area by June 2022.

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