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Experts raise doubts over safety of Grand Anaicut

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TRICHY: Experts in water management and structural engineering have raised apprehensions over the safety of the structure of the Grand Anaicut (Kallanai) in the wake of the damage suffered by the regulator built across Kollidam river. They said that historic structures were not being maintained well and it was high time to rethink the government’s policy on maintenance of such British-era structures. They suggested that the government adopt various modern techniques to monitor such structures.

“No one need bother about a structure being new or old. The question is how periodically it has been maintained as per norms,” said A B Pandya, former chairman of Central Water Commission (CWC). “When an age-old structure collapses, it is more important to see whether the heavy flow of water beyond its carrying capacity had affected it or whether there were issues regarding operation and maintenance”, he said adding that the structure should also be monitored closely for any cracks or wreckage. The former chairman of CWC said that there were enough modern techniques to monitor the structures effectively. It was only a question of executing them regularly and properly.

Professor, department of civil engineering, NIT-Trichy, C Natarajan, said the collapse of the Kollidam regulator was a learning experience. Monitoring of old structures like Mukkombu regulator should be given priority instead of constructing new structures, he said. “It is high time to focus on the remaining age-old structures like Grand Anaicut (Kallanai). Hereafter, we should not lose even a single structural marvel like Mukkombu barrage”, he said.

There were many new techniques which could simplify the manual work undertaken by PWD authorities to monitor these structures. “Most of the bridges in foreign countries are monitored by equipment like wireless sensor which costs just Rs 10 lakh. It will indicate the structural behaviour of any dam or barrage on a daily basis. Based on the indication, the authorities can act thereby helping to avert any harm to the structure”, he added.

President of All Farmers Associations’ Coordination Committee P R Pandian raised apprehensions of cracks and small damages in the Grand Anaicut (Kallanai), Lower Anaicut and a number of hundred-year-old small barrages and sluices across the delta districts. “Immediate attention should be given for Grand Anaicut. It should be properly inspected and examined to find whether the structure is perfect on all aspects. Tamil Nadu government should announce a committee headed by a high court judge to inspect dams and all age-old barrages and sluices”, he stressed.


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