The replacement of 136 sluice gates at the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) reservoir across river Cauvery has been affected due to COVID-19 and restriction on the use of oxygen for industrial purposes when the second wave of the pandemic peaked during April and May.
The replacement of all the gates was to be completed by June 2022, but work slowed down due to the pandemic and is likely to be completed by June 2023, said Shankare Gowda, Chief Engineer, Irrigation (South), Mysuru.
The fabrication of the sluice gates is being taken up near the dam. Though a letter was sent to the office of the Deputy Commissioner in Mysuru to ensure supply of oxygen for this purpose, it was not cleared due to the medical crisis, which peaked during April and May.
To increase lifespan
KRS was one of the 22 dams approved under Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) in Karnataka for taking up both structural and non-structural measures to extend its lifespan and enhance dam safety. The project, funded by the World Bank, entails an expenditure of ₹58.46 crore to replace 136 sluice gates and is being implemented by Karnataka Water Resource Department (KaWRD). It is being executed by M/s Hardware Tools and Machinery Projects Pvt. Ltd., Gujarat.
Of the 136 sluice gates, 25 spanning different levels along the reservoir have been replaced so far following third party inspection and approval that included World Bank consultants and the State Project Management Unit. Another eight gates, which have received approval following inspection, are ready for installation.
Though 16 sluice gates at 80+ feet level were replaced in 2011 by Karnataka, it was a minor exercise compared to the current project. Work on this scale is being taken up for the first time since completion of the dam in 1932.
Impact of rains
The bulk of the work at the dam takes place during the dry season. Now that inflow to the reservoir has increased due to the onset of the south west monsoon, the exercise will stop. But in case the monsoon is weak this year and the water level goes below the 100 feet mark by December, then the exercise can resume, according to officials.