With the National Dam Safety Authority (NDSA) submitting its interim report on monsoon safety measures to be taken up at the Medigadda barrage, work has begun on Block 7 starting with the lifting of eight gates, and cleaning up sand casts on the upstream and downstream sides of the affected block. According to officials, the initial work at the stricken Block 7, where three piers have been affected and two developed serious cracks, involves lifting of the gates, cleaning up of the sand casts, and driving of sheet piles on the downstream side of the aprons of the gates.

The first of the gates have been lifted after work started on Thursday and a total of six gates are expected to be lifted with some ease. The worst affected gates next to two of the piers that developed serious cracks is expected to pose some challenges. In the worst-case scenario, the grooves on which the gates rest and slide on will be removed and the gates taken down and cut. 

The NDSA had said that once the monsoon flows in Godavari begin, all the gates of the barrage should be open to allow free flow of water so no additional stresses are felt by the damaged structures, which are to be buttressed for additional strength. L&T which built the barrage, was asked to take up immediate repairs and the orders were issued on May 15, and work began the next day, company representatives


As part of the immediate protection measures, the work taken up will also include driving sheet piles on the downstream side of the apron of the gates on Block 7, and grouting the cavities under the foundation of the block with a mixture of sand and cement to block any further underground movement of the sand that could further destabilize the block, a L&T engineer said. Even as work began, it is learnt that the government has decided to set up a committee of senior irrigation department officials to oversee the monsoon protection works. 

The committee is expected to include engineer-in-chief (general), top officials of the irrigation and command area development department, the chief engineer of the Central Designs Organisation which oversees the designs and drawings, and chief engineer of the department at Ramagundam under whose purview the barrage falls.

It is also learnt that the judicial commission, set up by the state government to probe irregularities in planning, design and execution of the Kaleshwaram lift irrigation scheme, will restart its work from June 6, once the election code is lifted after the counting of votes on June 4 for the Lok Sabha elections. The commission had also given time till the end of May for anyone to submit their views, complaints.

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