Pulichintala project's fallen gate fixed with stop lock

Pulichintala project's fallen gate fixed with stop lock; Opposition TDP blames YSRCP government's poor maintenance

With the gate replaced, project and irrigation officials are now refilling the reservoir with the outflow from the upstream Nagarjuna Sagar project

Officials had to drain out five lakh cusecs water from the 46 TMC capacity project on the Krishna river in Guntur district to reduce the storage to about five TMC. Credit: PTI file photo

A stop lock gate was fixed in the place of Pulichintala project's radial gate no 16 that broke off on Wednesday night while the gates were being lifted to discharge the surplus water.

Officials had to drain out five lakh cusecs water from the 46 TMC capacity project on the Krishna river in Guntur district to reduce the storage to about five TMC, for the work to be carried out.

With the gate replaced, project and irrigation officials are now refilling the reservoir with the outflow from the upstream Nagarjuna Sagar project.

The huge surplus flow of water from Pulichintala for the last two days had caused inundation in some downstream areas especially the low lying settlements abutting the river in Vijayawada.

The officials have now withdrawn the warnings at the Prakasam Barrage at Vijayawada. “As the stop gate arrangement is completed, the water discharge from Pulichintala is stopped completely. So, there would be no flood discharge from the Prakasam Barrage from Saturday night,” said M Babu Rao, superintendent engineer, irrigation circle, Guntur.

Meanwhile, the opposition TDP blamed the sub-standard construction works of the project and the poor maintenance now under CM Jaganmohan Reddy.

“The ruling party leaders boast of the Pulichintala project as a dream fulfilled during YS Rajasekhara Reddy's rule. The substandard construction work has now resulted in the crest gate getting washed away in the floods” said TDP president and former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu.

TDP Legislature Party deputy leader Nimmala Ramanaidu held the poor maintenance by the YSRCP government responsible for the washing away of the Pulichintala crest gate.

“YSR regime was responsible for the present situation. Pulichintala project construction was full of flaws in both civil and mechanical works. The spillway was reduced to 546 meters when it should have been 754.59 metres. Only 24 crest gates were fixed when 33 gates were needed for effective flood management. The gap between gates in each pier was increased to 400 mm. This has resulted in far higher pressure the gate could not withstand during the flood,” Nimmala said.

Nimmala further alleged that the maintenance of the irrigation projects as per the prescribed norms was ignored under Jagan. “The YSRCP government and the irrigation minister did not bother to ensure flood cushion maintenance works which eventually led to the collapse of the gate and the river water wastefully flowing into the sea.”

Andhra Pradesh water resources minister Anil Kumar Yadav said that an enquiry will be initiated to know the gate collapse cause.