Polavaram Project - Why an alternative design for head works

Article Source: Knowledge in Civil Society (KICS)

Author: Er. T. Hanumantha Rao

Former Engineer-in-Chief, Government of Andhra Pradesh and Consultant, United Nations (OPS)

A small group of sceptic social workers was unimpressed by the idea of Polavaram Dam when it was first mooted decades back, and has been pressing for a serious rethink on it ever since. I have the honor of writing these few words as a member of that group, which was particularly agitated about the tribal population that would be adversely affected by the project in several ways. Several questions were involved, apart from the most important anxiety about the negative impact of the project on the tribal population: putting the Godavari waters to the best uses - for irrigation, drinking water and power; the dam’s capacity to withstand floods ; a fair distribution of the benefits of the dam among the regions of Andhra Pradesh ; and so on. Obviously, the answers to these have a weighty technical component that needed to be addressed by technical experts. It was in that context our group turned to Er. T. Hanumantha Rao, Retired Engineer-in-Chief of Andhra Pradesh, and an internationally acknowledged expert on irrigation, known to have been studying the Polavaram Project intensely. Two booklets on his ideas have been earlier brought out by Centre for World Solidarity (CWS) and others who banded in this. This latest booklet is an update by Er. Hanumantha Rao, who makes a reasoned case for an alternative to what was originally visualized. This published booklet by Er. Hanumantha Rao on this subject has been possible due to the efforts of the following, who have been part of the original group that expressed reservations of a serious nature on the construction of a high dam for Polavaram project, almost a quarter century back.

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