VILLUPURAM: Built just an year ago, the Thalavanur checkdam in Villupuram is set to be demolished as the sluices of the dam have been damaged. On Sunday, officials began the demolition process but the structure across Thenpennai river could not be brought down as the explosives used were weak. Collector D Mohan, who inspected the sluices, said the dam will be demolished to stop further erosion of the river banks and prevent water from flooding nearby villages.
Opened in 2020
The Thalavanur checkdam was built between the Yenathirimangalam and Thalavanur villages, to store surplus water during the monsoon and irrigate over 3,000 acres of land in Cuddalore and Villupuram districts. Built at a cost of `25 crore, it was inaugurated by the then law minister C Ve Shanmugam in September 2020.
However, just months after it was opened, a sluice gate on the left side of the dam broke in January. It was not repaired immediately as the elections were around the corner and a new government took over in May. In August, officials said a proposal to reconstruct the dam has been sent to the State government and has not been approved yet. Meanwhile, due to monsoon rains, another sluice in the right side was damaged on Tuesday after the Saathanur dam in Tiruvannamalai district opened shutters recently.
To be brought down
The river bank near the damaged right sluice eroded as the inflow from Saathanur dam was increased to 3,300 cusecs on Saturday. It took a mere 8-9 hours for the river bank to erode after water was released from Saathanur dam. Hence, explosives were used to demolish the dam, but the efforts were in vain as the structure could not be brought down.
The Collector said it was an unexpected failure but further technical assistance on blasting the structures would be sought from higher authorities. “We don’t want workers to work on the dam any further as it is dangerous now,” he said. Attempts to demolish the structure will once again be made on Monday.