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Keeping Vizag airport dry

Ch.R.S. Sarma

The project envisages systematic channelling of the surplus waters of Meghadrigedda and Kondagedda streams, which flooded the airport. The two channels are designed to carry more than 70,000 cusecs.

Often, during spells of heavy rain, there is a threat of the Visakhapatnam airport getting flooded, due to which flights get cancelled and newspapers carry pictures of the flooded runway and the surrounding areas.

They are not very encouraging pictures for potential investors, especially in such sectors as IT and tourism.

Last October flights had to be cancelled for nearly two weeks and this August too the problem recurred, though not with the same intensity.

The Andhra Pradesh Government promised last year that steps would be taken to curb flooding of the airport. Water and Power Consultancy Services (Wapcos) was appointed to study the problem and suggest solutions. After a number of meetings and technical studies, the organisation submitted a report recently.

Channelling the surplus water

The project, for which tenders are likely to be finalised by December end, envisages systematic channelling of the surplus waters of Meghadrigedda and Kondagedda streams, which flood the airport.

The two channels are designed to carry more than 70,000 cusecs. The channel carrying the surplus waters of the Meghadrigedda reservoir to the tidal area at the parallel bridge is designed to carry a flow of 62,000 cusecs.

The design takes into account the full capacity of (55,000 cusecs) of the Meghadrigeddareservoir.

Besides, a link channel will be dug to divert 7,000 cusecs from Meghadrigedda canal. The maximum discharge from Kondagedda is estimated at 17,000 cusecs and the new channel from it to the tidal area will carry the remaining flow.

These channels will also absorb flow from the minor streams in the vicinity and there will be no problem to the airport, it is asserted.

Project cost

The cost of the project is estimated at Rs 75 crore, which is to be borne by the Greater Visakha Municipal Corporation (GVMC) and the Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority.

Initial work is to clear the course of these streams and taking up earthwork, which is scheduled to be completed by July 2007, so as to prevent the flooding of the airport next year.

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