Veligonda project second tunnel completed

Poola Subbaiah Veligonda Project envisages to provide irrigation water to 3.5L acres in Prakasam
Completed second tunnel of Veligonda project in Prakasam district | Express
Completed second tunnel of Veligonda project in Prakasam district | Express

VIJAYAWADA : A major breakthrough has been achieved with the completion of the digging of the second tunnel of Poola Subbaiah Veligonda Project on Tuesday. The contracting agency, Megha Engineering and Infrastructures Limited (MEIL) used two Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM) to complete the digging of the two tunnels. With the completion of the second tunnel, the much-awaited Veligonda Project is likely to be launched soon, providing drinking and irrigation water to parched mandals of Prakasam district.

According to the project officials, in 2020, MEIL began excavating works in both the tunnels, which are 3.6-km and 7.5-km long respectively. It completed the 3.6-km long tunnel in January, 2021 and on Tuesday, it achieved a breakthrough in the second tunnel.

The State Water Resources Department has taken up the excavation of two tunnels from Kothur near Dornala in Prakasam district to Kollam Vagu in the upper reaches of Srisailam Project in the Nallamala forest area. The tunnels are designed to move one TMC per day, 3,000 cusecs of water from the first tunnel and 8,500 cusecs of water from the second.

The Veligonda project after completion would greatly benefit people of Prakasam, Nellore and Kadapa districts. The project is capable of providing irrigation water to 3.5 lakh acres in Prakasam, 80,000 acres in Nellore and 30,000 acres in Kadapa. It will also provide drinking water to 16 lakh people residing in 30 mandals in these three districts.

It is worth noting that Asia’s longest conveyor belt of 39 metres long has been used in the Veligonda tunnel project. It is used to shift stones and mud that comes out during the excavation of the tunnels. The works were completed without any auditing in these tunnels. Auditing is done during the construction of the tunnel. It is a passage through which a hole is made from the surface of the tunnel to move machinery, goods and workers in case of any emergency.

Due to non-availability of this auditing passage, MEIL had to face several problems in this project. It had to transport cement, sand, iron materials and machinery required for the construction from Sangameshwara in Kurnool district to Kollam Vagu area through Krishna river by two barges which could carry a weight of 125 and 800 tonnes.

In case of any untoward incident, it takes at least two hours to bring the personnel from the project construction site. The workers had to endure the high temperature inside the tunnel, where it would reach up to 60 degrees.

MEIL Project Manager at Poola Subbaiah Veligonda project, P Rambabu said, “We have successfully completed the project by overcoming all the ordeals faced during the project. Sometimes it was a difficult situation where we had to get fresh water through boats. But our staff and workers with teamwork achieved the target.’’

Water Resources department Executive Engineer Purardhana Reddy, who witnessed the Veligonda Project second tunnel breakthrough, said “Although the project is in Tiger Sanctuary, we have followed all rules while executing the project. And we assure that water will be released through these tunnels in the next season.”

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