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New regulator across the Coleroon coming up at Upper Anicut, says CM

Taking stock:Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami inspecting repair work on the Mukkombu dam on Friday.M. Srinath

The Rs. 410-crore structure would be built about 100 metres away from the one that collapsed
A new regulator would be built across the Coleroon at the Upper Anicut, replacing the 182-year-old brick masonry structure which was partially damaged following heavy discharge of water, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami said here on Friday.

At an outlay of Rs. 410 crore, the new regulator would be built about 100 metres away from the one that collapsed. While the new regulator across the southern arm of the river is estimated to cost about Rs. 325 crore, the structure across the contiguous northern arm would require an investment of Rs. 85 crore. Nine of the 45 shutters, along with the piers, across the Coleroon’s southern arm, had collapsed on Wednesday night.

Amid mounting criticism of the government from the Opposition parties and farmers’ organisations over the collapse of the regulator, Mr. Palaniswami personally inspected the damage and the temporary repair work being taken up by the Public Works Department (PWD). He spent nearly 30 minutes inspecting the damaged structure, and even ventured into the river bed for a closer look at the damage.

“The construction of the new regulator will begin soon after an expert committee finalises the design. It would take about 15 months to build the regulator, and the government will take steps to begin the work soon,” the CM said.

Temporary repairs to plug the breached regulator would be completed in four days, he said, and maintained that samba cultivation would not be affected in any way. “The sill level of the regulator across the Cauvery at the Upper Anicut is about two feet lower than the one across the Coleroon, and hence, the flow in the Cauvery will not be hindered. Even now, about 15,000 cusecs of water is flowing in the Cauvery. The breach is being plugged using sand bags, and once this is done, the entire flow into the Upper Anicut could be released into the Cauvery,” Mr. Palaniswami said.

‘An accident’

Dismissing the allegation that the structure had been poorly maintained, he termed its collapse an ‘accident’. According to him, the pressure caused by the sustained heavy discharge through the regulator had led to the collapse of a portion of the structure, which was built in 1836 by Sir Arthur Cotton. The regulator had sustained the major floods of 1924,1977 and 2005. But surplus waters had flowed through it only for five or six days on those occasions. But this time around, there had been heavy discharge for eight consecutive days initially, and then for 12 consecutive days in a second spell, he noted.

‘Sand mining not a factor’

He denied the allegation of Opposition parties and farmers’ organisations that rampant sand mining was the reason for the collapse of the regulator.

Sand mining was not being carried out in the vicinity of the structure, and was being done away from the regulator, as per the rules, he insisted.

The government was, nevertheless, taking steps to gradually phase out the use of sand and stop mining on rivers. Apart from the import of sand, the use of M-sand for construction activity was being encouraged, and already, 20%-30% of people had started using M-sand, he claimed.


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