Central Panel’s report on Telangana dam labels it as “Multiple Failures… Useless.”

In Hyderabad, a central panel investigating dam safety heavily criticized the Telangana government for the sinking of sections of the Medigadda (Lakshmi) barrage, rendering it “useless unless fully rehabilitated” and potentially requiring a complete reconstruction of the entire structure. The barrage forms part of the ambitious Rs 80,000 crore Kaleshwaram Multi-Lift Irrigation Project, a flagship initiative of the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi.

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The incident, which occurred on October 21, led to the sinking of six pillars (from the 15th to the 20th) and potential damage to the gates at the sixth, seventh, and eighth blocks. The panel’s report highlighted deficiencies in the project’s planning and execution, stating that the pillars, designed to withstand the force of 16,000 million cubic feet of water, sank due to heavy water flow of 1.3 million cubic feet over a fortnight.

The weakened Medigadda barrage necessitated the opening of all 85 gates and the release of up to 10 million cubic feet of water meant for drinking and irrigation purposes. The report criticized the Telangana government for various failures in planning, design, quality control, and operation and maintenance, noting that regular inspections were neglected, a significant omission according to the panel.

The report emphasized the necessity of structural restoration of the damaged block and warned of the potential failure of other blocks, necessitating the rehabilitation of the entire barrage. It also identified similar risks in the Annaram and Sundilla barrages upstream and proposed a reservoir shutdown until repairs are completed.

The release of the report sparked a political controversy in Telangana, with opposition parties lambasting Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, especially in the lead-up to the upcoming Assembly election. Congress MP Rahul Gandhi visited the site, criticizing the corruption within the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme, while highlighting the significance of water issues in the state’s history. The project, inaugurated in 2019, aims to provide water for irrigation and drinking purposes to a substantial portion of Telangana’s population.

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