KLIS fiasco: NDSA experts continue to interrogate officials

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The expert team from the National Dam Safety Authority (NDSA), led by J. Chandrashekhar Iyer, former Chairperson of the Central Water Commission, convened on Thursday at the Irrigation & CAD Department’s office (Jala Soudha) in the city to scrutinise the construction process of the barrages under the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS).

Representatives from the construction agencies, project construction authorities, operation and maintenance (O&M) wing, investigation agencies, post-investigation agencies, along with officials from the Central Design Organisation (CDO) and the quality control and investigation authorities, faced questioning from the NDSA team.

They were quizzed individually and in a detailed form. Sources revealed that officials from the CDO affirmed adherence to due procedures. When questioned about external involvement in the design process, CDO officials denied any such influence, asserting compliance with Indian Standard (IS) codes. Notably, they admitted to abstaining from field visits due to a lack of authorisation. It is said that the officials had noticed leakages in the Sundilla barrage in 2019 and took steps. They also said that they had conducted a survey using LiDAR technology before finalizing the site for the barrages.

Following incomplete information provided during their first visit on March 6, the NDSA team interacted with former Engineer in Chief (General) C. Muralidhar and the former Engineer-In-Chief of the KLIS, N. Venkateswarlu, on Wednesday. Further engagements are planned, including a meeting with the State Dam Safety Organisation (SDSO), the head of the SDSC, and experts. Additionally, a visit to the Telangana State Engineering Research Labs (TSERL) in Himayat Sagar, Hyderabad, is scheduled for a firsthand view of running models alongside CDO officials concerned before the team’s departure to New Delhi.

The state government is expecting an interim report from the NDSA team before the 2024 monsoon season, outlining measures to safeguard the damaged barrages and the feasibility of reinstating their functionality. The NDSA has a four-month timeline to submit its final report on the future course of action regarding the barrages of the KLIS

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