Barrage still waits for better maintenance, security

Barrage still waits for better maintenance, security

Officials will be instructed to maintain barrage, promises DC

The dam across River Chitravathi near Paragodu, situated on the outskirts of Bagepalli – to provide water to Bagepalli and Gudibande taluks, is already a decade old.

Over a span of 10 years, the people had been expecting development of the Chitravathi barrage through provision of facilities. Unfortunately for both the people and the barrage, the already available facilities too are not being managed well, let alone getting developed.

There are long stretches of weeds surrounding the barrage. There are also electricity poles that lean above the water of the barrage, making for a very dangerous situation.

The electricity bulbs have been stoles by miscreants from the poles of the streetlights that line on both sides the one-and-a-half kilometre long road from the National Highway 7 till the pump set of the barrage.

In addition, the iron rods and other parts of some of the poles have been damaged by the miscreants.

Next comes the guest house that is situated near the entrance to the barrage area.
With a complete lack of facilities and management, it is not only in a dilapidated condition, but has also been a dwelling place for drunkards and gamblers.

The Chitravathi barrage and the area surrounding it was expected to be developed into a primary tourism spot in the district as it not only hosts a very expansive body of water but is also situated in the midst of naturally rich environment.

Development, however, is not written in the fortunes of the barrage, as the authorities concerned have continually turned a blind eye to all such facts.

“The poor fortunes of the Chitravathi barrage, however, cannot be listed out in such a short form. The silt that has been collecting over the years around the body of water has not been cleared for a long time now,” local residents and members of various social work organisations express worry.

M P Munivenkatappa, leader of the Chitravathi Ulisi Horate Samiti told the Deccan Herald correspondent, “The Chitravathi barrage is the most important source of water for both Bagepalli and Gudibande taluks in the district. The rural and urban areas of the taluks both are provided water from the barrage itself. The barrage, however, has not been maintained well. The work of desilting it or developing it has also not been carried out, but nobody is raising the issue.”

He added that there had been a round of protest two years ago, demanding clearing the Chitravathi barrage of both silt and the boulders that fill it.

“As part of the protest that went on for 68 days, we had also discussed the matter of the barrage with not just the then deputy commissioner but also the officers of the Department of Minor Irrigation. We received a large-sized assurance, but no action has been taken to improve the condition of the barrage, even in terms of maintenance,” he expressed disappointment.

“The huge reservoir has been constructed at a cost of lakhs of rupees, but has been provided no proper security. Illegal activities continue uninhibited in its neighbourhood and the concerned authorities turn a blind eye to the ongoing crimes.

Vehicles are parked in long queues near the barrage – which is not legally permissible. There are also miscreants hovering in the vicinity of the barrage, but again, the authorities do not check into the matter,” complained Narasimha, a local resident.

“The water is at a considerably high level in the barrage at present, which draws the interest of visitors. Cleaning up the barrage area and maintenance of the hygiene, along with providing additional facilities and better security there, will prove beneficial at least from the tourism point of view. The road leading to the barrage, for instance, should be weeded and provided proper streetlights. All of this will, naturally, improve chances of visitors coming to the barrage and, in turn, benefiting the district,” he explained.

Deputy Commissioner Dr M V Venkatesh, when contacted, told Deccan Herald, that the chief officer of Bagepalli Town Municipal Council Pankaja Reddy will be instructed to survey and provide a report on the condition of the Chitravathi barrage.

“A survey will also be conducted to check if there are cases of encroachment near the barrage. A meeting of such surveyors will be called to get the encroachments cleared. Priority will be given to better maintenance of the barrage. The destroyed streetlights will be reinstalled and the surroundings of the barrage will be cleaned up and given better security,” he promised.