Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has asserted that the Rs. 5,150-crore Pula Subbaiah Veligonda project will be completed at any cost overcoming all hurdles. “I have laid the foundation stone for the project. I will ensure water supply to parched lands by speeding up the ongoing tunnel works," he said at a workshop on water conservation at Singarayakonda in Prakasam district on Saturday.
Later, reviewing the works at Tunnel II taken up with imported Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM), the Chief Minister expressed dissatisfaction over the progress and warned the contractor concerned that the government would not hesitate to put him in the blacklist if the project was delayed. He sought a report within a month on the technical problems and ways to overcome them. He directed them to arrange for spares and consult experts from abroad to overcome the technical problems.
“The first tunnel has been drilled up to a distance of 12.8 km and the second tunnel up to 9 km so far," the officials explained. At present, drilling is being done up to a distance of 10 metres per day in the case of Tunnel II and four to six metres in the case of Tunnel I, they explained.
Projected as an engineering marvel, the project, aimed at bringing in Krishna waters through two big tunnels, has suffered cost and time overruns due to a variety of reasons, including technical snags, leading to repeated extension of the deadline. The project involves drilling of two tunnels over a stretch of 18.8 km each under the Nagarjunasagar tiger sanctuary without disturbing the natural environment of the big cats.
The project envisaged bringing 53 tmcft of Krishna waters from the foreshore of Srisailam project for 45 days per annum to ensure irrigation water for 4.5 lakh acres in the three districts and drinking water supply to 15.25 lakh people in the fluoride-affected areas.