Cost of middle Vaitarna Dam goes up by Rs 150 crore

The reservoir of the dam will now be dug two metres deeper than was originally planned, so as to stockpile larger amounts of water for droughts; officials hopeful of completing work by next monsoon

The estimated expenditure to be incurred for building the ambitious Middle Vaitarna dam on the Vaitarna river -- the tallest dam in Maharashtra -- has risen by Rs 150 crore. The revised budget was cleared at the BMC's standing committee meeting on Saturday. The increased cost was sanctioned to make way for an altered design, which will allow for a greater dead storage capacity of the dam. This means that it will be able to stockpile larger amounts of stored water for droughts.

Water rise! The Middle Vaitarna Water Supply Project, the cost of which
was originally pegged at
Rs 1,600-crore, will now cost Rs 1,750 crore.
file pic

The plan for the dam was recently changed so as to make the base of the dam deeper, safer and better equipped to provide a foundation to the tallest dam in the state.

Civic officials cite have promised that the alteration in plans will not result in an extension of the deadline, barring the first extension from 2011 to May 2012.

"The projected cost of the project escalated because the ground will be dug up two metres deeper than was originally planned. This entails more work on the foundation of the dam," said Chief Engineer of Water supply and projects, R S Ghodge.

He further added that construction work of the dam is on in full swing, and the reservoir is expected to be ready to store water from the next monsoon. "But the construction of gates and other ancillary work like roads would take some time to be completed," he added.

The Middle Vaitarna Water Supply Project, the cost of which was originally pegged at Rs 1,600-crore, will now cost Rs 1,750 crore. Once completed, it will increase the volume of water supplied from the Vaitarna river to the city by a whopping 455 million litres every day. While a central grant covers 35 per cent of the total cost of the project, the state government will make an outlay of 15 per cent, with the BMC contributing the remaining 50 per cent.

The project, funded under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), was originally on a 2011 deadline, but work was delayed owing to a PIL filed at the Bombay High Court challenging the civic body's decision to award the contract to a Chinese firm, in joint venture with Hyderabad-based Soma Enterprise Ltd.
The PIL claimed that the Chinese firm's involvement could act as a threat to national security.

BMC's Standing Committee Chairman Rahul Shewale said, "The 102 meter-high dam is was the fastest dam to be completed in India, and the ninth in the world. The contractor has used Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC) to construct it, owing to which work will be completed in two years."

He added that nearly 65 per cent of the dam's work has been completed. "There are plans to build a hydroelectric power plant in the dam, which will generate 25 MW of electricity, which can then be sold."

Million litres of water from the Vaitarna dam will be supplied to the city every day

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