VIJAYAWADA: In what could be a setback to the AP government, the Union Water Resources Ministry has reportedly instructed the State government to stop the construction of cofferdam as part of the ongoing Polavaram project works. However, officials of the State Water Resources Department maintained that the Centre has only raised the technical approvals for the cofferdam, which are pending with the Central Water Commission (CWC). “We are sure that we will get the necessary permissions for the cofferdam sooner than later and start the works again,” the official said.
According to sources, in a letter sent to the AP government, the Union Water Resources Ministry mentioned that it is going to appoint a committee to determine if the construction of cofferdam is needed or not and will take a decision based on the report submitted by it. At the same time, the Union Ministry of Water Resources wanted the State government to stop the works of cofferdam until the committee submits its report.
The State government has been contemplating to construct the cofferdam, so water could be released to Polavaram Right and Left main canals by gravity in June 2018, when the Kharif season commences. By that way, it need not wait till the main dam is completed and for the very reason, it has sought permission to increase the height of cofferdam.
The Centre recently objected the move of AP to change Transstroy, the main contractor of the project. The latest objection raised by the Union government is likely to become an impediment to the ongoing works of Polavaram project, which are not progressing as per the expectations of the State government. “Though the State government is keen on completing the works of Polavaram project before the general elections scheduled for 2019, the Centre, which declared Polavaram as a national project and is funding it, however, is not of the same page.
It is dissatisfied with the revised estimates of the project,” a BJP leader said and added that the Central government is of opinion that the main dam could be constructed without the need of cofferdam. The officials from AP attended a meeting with the Central Water Commission held on Wednesday to discuss the designs of the project.
However, an engineer at the Polavaram project site said the Central government might opined that the change of contractor and the construction of cofferdam will result in an escalation of the project cost, but it will be a difficult task to complete the main dam works without cofferdam.
Another shocker from Centre
Cofferdams are constructed above and below the main dam under construction to divert water and carry out the main dam works. The State government mooted to construct the upper cofferdam at 42 metre high to release water by June 2018. But, the decision of the Centre seems to have come as a shocker to the State government