Irrigation Minister Uttam warns of further action post Medigadda judicial report

Minister inspects repair works taken up as per NDSA orders, says those who misappropriated funds will face music
Irrigation Minister N Uttam Kumar Reddy inspected the Medigadda barrage on Friday
Irrigation Minister N Uttam Kumar Reddy inspected the Medigadda barrage on Friday(Photo | Express)

BHUPALPALLY: Irrigation Minister N Uttam Kumar Reddy on Friday said that the government would take further action against officials concerned for the sinking of piers of Medigadda after the judicial commission submits its report.

Speaking to reporters after inspecting the Medigadda, Sundilla and Annaram barrages, Uttam said that the state government removed some engineers from service after getting the Vigilance report. “Now, the judicial commission is conducting a probe and the government will take further action against erring officials after it submits its report,” the minister said.

He said that irrigation was the top priority of the Congress government, and it would ensure that every rupee spent on irrigation brings positive results.

Uttam said that making optimum use of resources to get maximum new ayacut under irrigation is the motto of the Congress government. “Whether old or new irrigation projects, this government will accord priority to projects where with minimum money and time, maximum new ayacut could be brought under cultivation,”

The minister, along with Engineer-in-Chief Anil Kumar and senior irrigation department officials, inspected the Medigadda (Lakshmi Barrage), Annaram and Sundilla barrages to see first-hand the implementation of interim measures recommended by the National Dam Safety Authority (NDSA) and also the ongoing monsoon flood protection works.

More ayacut by spending less money

The minister said that the state government intends to irrigate more ayacut through judicious spending and avoid waste of public money. He said that the projects where more ayacut can be created by spending less would be the government’s priority.

“Congress government would not spare anyone who misappropriated, misused or wasted public money in the name of Kaleshwaram project,” Uttam said.

Irrigation Minister N Uttam Kumar Reddy inspected the Medigadda barrage on Friday
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Stick to timelines, officials told

Uttam first visited the Sundilla barrage where he inspected the repair works. Irrigation officials briefed him on the extent of damage caused to the barrage and the repair works carried out so far. Later, he visited Annaram barrage and inspected the ongoing works. He directed the officials to expedite the works and complete the repairs within the time specified by the NDSA.

Later, Uttam visited Medigadda where he held a review meeting with officials of the irrigation department, L&T, Afcons, Navayuga and another related department.

Speaking to the media at Medigadda, Uttam stated that no review could be done until June 5 due to the Model Code of Conduct. He said it was shameful that despite spending `94,000 crore, which was taken on high interest rates, the Kaleshwaram project remained a non-usable liability.

He recalled that the Medigadda barrage sank on October 21, 2023, when the BRS was in power.

“While Sundilla and Annaram barrages suffered leakages, Medigadda barrage suffered huge structural damage. This was huge damage to public property. Common people are now paying for the mistakes committed by the previous regime,” Uttam said.

“We approached the NDSa within a week of forming the government and initiated measures to protect public money. The NDSA is the most qualified and competent authority in the country when it comes to the issue of barrages and dams. Therefore, we informed the authority and sought its advice on possible solutions to revive the barrages. We asked for both short-term and long-term measures,” he said.

Uttam said an expert committee headed by Chandrasekhar Iyer suggested some interim measures to protect the damaged barrages. “The committee is completely against storage of water in these barrages as it could have damaged them further. Hence, monsoon flood protection works were taken up,” he said.

Uttam cautioned officials of Navayuga to speed up the repair works of Sundilla barrage.

ENC Anil, MLC T Jeevan Reddy, Chief Engineer Sudhakar, MLAs Raj Thakur, G Satyanarayana, Lakshman and other senior officials were present.

Irrigation Minister N Uttam Kumar Reddy inspected the Medigadda barrage on Friday
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Ready by next season?

ENC Anil said that integrated testing, including geotechnical, geophysical and GRP tests, was being done at repair sites. “Medigadda has made progress. By next season, with the permission of the NDSA, pumping could be made possible through the Kannapalli pump house,” he said.

L&T spokesperson Suresh Kumar said that the repair works have been going on in full swing. He said work was being carried out 24x7. He said the 41 personnel and 150 workmen were working on repairs. Nearly 82 pieces of equipment have been engaged for the task, Suresh Kumar said, adding that filling as per the recommendations of the NDSA was being done below the ramp. “Almost 90% of the work is completed. Arrangements of CC blocks and placements of sandbags at different levels have been 60% completed,” he said.

Additional equipment is being engaged, and all measures are being taken to complete the works. He said that the L&T was doing its best to ensure the safety of Block-7 and undertake whatever repair and restoration works the NDSA advised.

Irrigation Minister N Uttam Kumar Reddy inspected the Medigadda barrage on Friday
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