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Tiruvannamalai sends Rs 17.61-cr proposal to revive Shenbagathoppu dam
With repair works under way at the Shenbagathoppu dam in Polur here, the district administration has submitted to the State government a Rs 17.61-crore proposal to carry out construction and maintenance of banks, drainage channel, inspection bungalow and various facilities meant for tourists.
The proposal was submitted with the hopes that ongoing Rs 16.40-crore works to repair the damaged shutters of the dam would be completed quickly.
Construction of the dam, which started in 2001, ended in a fiasco in 2007 when during trials, the shutters got stuck, resulting in top PWD officials being suspended and the contractor being blacklisted. Meant to provide water to raise three crops over a total of 7500 acres in an ayacut covering the Polur, Arni, Vandavasi and Cheyyar taluks in Tiruvannamalai district and Arcot taluk in Ranipet district, the reservoir was meant to store 287.2 mcft (million cubic feet) of water to a height of 62 feet.
Non-use of the reservoir and the reported lack of care have led to portions becoming silted up, thereby reducing storage capacity, locals said. “Though 20 years have passed from the construction date, this dam has never seen use till now,” rued Kumarasamy, a farmer in Kannamangalam, which borders Vellore district.
When contacted, District Collector KS Kandasamy said, “We expect the new shutters which are being fabricated by a private firm in Tiruchy to reach the site within a month for which the related civil works are already under way.”
Though the reservoir is holding water which ensures that groundwater in the surrounding areas is recharged, farmers at the tail-end had their hopes of raising three crops withered with the passing of time.
While farmers of Padavedu seem to be happy about groundwater recharge, those in Kannamangalam and Arcot get supply only when heavy rain forces overflow.
“The distance such water reaches depends on the intensity of the rain,” Kandasamy said, adding that “Once the shutters are mounted, trials will be undertaken to ensure that they move up and down easily without hindrance. When this test is successful, the Shenbagathoppu dam, based on water availability, will be ready for regular operations.”