Tribals upstream cofferdam fear submergence

Rajamahendravaram: Many tribals residing in the upstream of cofferdam of Polavaram project are expressing concern over their fate during floods and demanding that the government shift them to safer places in case the flood water increases. Around 30 villages above the cofferdam will be marooned in the flood water if the flood increases but Polavaram project authorities have not devised a permanent action plan to protect tribals so far.

The flood water level will escalate at the cofferdam as there is no adequate way to discharge the water towards Sir Arthur Cotton Barrage because of the ongoing construction works of cofferdam. The situation becomes worse in all 30 villages if third warning is put out at Cotton Barrage at Dowleswaram.

As the cofferdam height was at about 35 metre, the flood water level also reach that level. Only 300 metre width space was left to release flood water towards Dowleswaram which is insufficient. Though Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy directed the officials to devise an action plan to shift the tribals to safer areas, nothing happened.

According to an official of the project, the government is constructing upper and lower cofferdams at the main dam of the project to divert the river water. As part of it, the first reach of cofferdam was completed up to 18 metre length as against 200 metre length and in second reach, the cofferdam was completed in 35 metre height and 1,400 metre length and 300 metre length was not completed in third reach.

Upper and lower cofferdams were designed for earth-cum-rockfill dam coming up in the river between Polavaram and Devipatnam mandals. The construction works of upper cofferdam were stopped as per the directions of the government.

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