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Khuga Impasse: IFCD On Damage Control Mode

LAMKA, Nov 1: Barely a day after the JAC imposed a total bandh on Khuga dam after the talk with the Government broke down, the IFC Department today briefed the local media on the project site and handed out a three-point argument for deferring the power component for the time being, in what could be seen as an attempt to clear the air as well as appease the striking JAC.

The IFC Chief Engineer Th. Indiramani at his briefing maintained that the water supply component has already been handed over to the PHE department way back in March this year, with a guarantee to deliver a minimum of 40 million liters per day for 365 days. It’s just that they have failed to tap the resources available to them; he said and suggested that the PHE department approach and interact with them in order to tap the full potential of the water supply.

The reaction of the PHE department however is not exactly known.

On irrigation, he said the dam now has the potential to irrigate 2000 hectares of land through its western canal and another 8000 hectares through the eastern canal. To further substantiate his claim, as insisted by the media, he trekked along the canal for about 15 kms. All through the canal that was inspected today, no visible breach was detected. However there are some portions which aroused doubts over its durability as and when the canal water runs in full strength. Nevertheless the CE instructed his staff to immediately strengthen all vulnerable points including those that were pointed out by the media persons.

Significantly the CE had promised to ‘˜definitely run the canal in advance well before the dam’s inauguration to demonstrate its feasibility.’

On the serious charges of depression and seepage that was leveled by the JAC, the CE admitted that depression indeed was detected on the earthen portion of the dam since 2005-06. ‘˜We have been keenly observing this for the past four to five years, but there was no further depression. In other words it has settled down,’ he said.

The department has even opened the earthen portion where depression was detected to confirm that the earth had settled, he said even as he rejected the claim of seepage on the concrete structure.

‘˜In a structure like this there always is a negligible flow of water along the concrete slabs which is not visible to the naked eye. It is the accumulation these negligible water on parts of the concrete slab that gave the impression of seepage,’ he argued.

Going by the CE’s explanation today, all technical aspects appears to be all set, except for the power component for which the department has handed out a three point argument for deferring it for the time being.

The arguments include water drawn for power generation would only be wasted as it could not be utilized for irrigation as is the norms in other projects. The power project here is incidental, with the intention of utilizing it only when there are excess resources. And the option of PPP (Private Public Partnership) is not advisable as the intended private partner wants to control power generation at their own whims and not when there is only excess water.

In regards to payment of pending bills of contractors, the CE categorically stated that any liability amount would be cleared for sure. ‘˜It is just that we are working on doubling bills,’ the CE who wishes to sit-down with the submerged area chief as well in regards to their compensation claims said. ‘˜I think we have done enough,’ he adds nevertheless.

The CE as well disclose that the centre government have threaten to withhold all funding for other projects in the state as well as translate the last installment they receive into a loan if the department still fails to complete the dam with that installment.

Constructed for over twenty-eight years, Khuga dam’s initial budget was barely 15 crores and supposed to be completed in three working seasons. The expense however by now touches over 381 crores.

*Reported by S Singlianmang Guite

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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