TIRUVANNAMALAI: The Shenbagathope dam, located near Polur in Tiruvannamalai district, has been opened for the first time on Thursday to discharge water as it has been receiving copious inflow due to heavy downpours in the catchment areas.
“The dam, in which seven faulty shutters were recently replaced, has been receiving 6000 cusecs and the same amount of water is being discharged as a safety measure,” an official of the water resources department (WRD) said.
The water level has reached 58 feet against the actual level of 62 feet while storage stood at 219 mcft against full capacity of 287 mcft.
Tamil Nadu Minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Sevoor S Ramachandran opened the shutters of the dam.
Top officials including district collector Sandeep Nanduri, executive engineer of water resources department A Mahendran and Kalasapakkam MLA V Panneerselvam were also present.
The dam has a bitter history to look back on since the construction work was completed in 2007. The poor quality shutters did not withstand heavy flooding a few years later. Since then, the dam was lying idle without being able to store water.
It was aimed at recharging 48 tanks spread across Polur, Arni, Vandavasi and Cheyyar taluks in Tiruvannamalai district and Arcot taluk in neighbouring Ranipet district and providing irrigation for an area of 7,500 acres.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy sanctioned funds to the tune of Rs 16.37 crore last October to carry out repair work, particularly to replace the shutters.
The work was recently completed before testing the shutters. Now, the dam has begun storing water much to the delight of the local people and farmers.
7846 evacuated in district
Meanwhile, the authorities have evacuated 7,846 persons from different places in Tiruvannamalai district. They are being accommodated at 267 temporary shelters.
Hut and house damages were reported from several places. Eighteen huts were partially damaged and three fully damaged, while nine tiled houses were also damaged in the gusty winds, officials said, adding that sixteen trees were also uprooted.