Efficacy of two shutters has to be tested before installing 53 other shutters.
The Public Works Department (PWD) has begun the process of fixing hydraulic shutters to the new barrage being constructed across the Kollidam at Mukkombu.
The work constitutes a vital part of the ₹ 387.60 crore project initiated during March, 2019. As per the plan, the barrage will have 55 shutters (gates) to control the flow of water. Of them, the southern arm of the barrage will have 45 shutters and the northern arm the remaining 10 shutters. The L&T, which is executing the project for the PWD, is said to have completed the mechanical components of all 55 shutters by setting up an on site fabrication unit. It has begun the preliminary work of installing shutters on the platforms constructed between the vents.
A senior PWD officer said that each vent would have a shutter. Two shutters had been installed so far. They would be supported by a power pack for operation. The efficacy of the shutters had to be tested before installing other shutters. So, it had been decided to test their functioning. The trial run of the shutters would be conducted next week. A team of experts would arrive to oversee the functioning of shutters. Based on the test results, installation of other shutters would be carried out. If needed, modification would be done.
The official said the lockdown and the subsequent return of migrant workers to their native States had impacted the progress of the construction to an extent. However, the project was right on track. Around 300 workers had been working at the site on shift. It was being carried out round the clock.
Collector S. Sivarasu took stock of the progress of the work on Tuesday by inspecting the project site. He held a consultation with the Executive Engineers R. Geetha (Special Division, Project), Baskar, (River Conservation Division) and other senior officials. Mr. Sivarasu said that the project that began in March 2019 had been progressing well. More than 60% of the work had been completed. With the deployment of additional workforce, the work would be expedited in the coming days. Work on the southern arm of the barrage would be completed before February, he said.
District administration begins informal consultation on the issue
While the stalemate persists over reopening of Gandhi Market that remained closed since the third week of March in the wake of spread of COVID-19 virus and the subsequent public interest litigation in the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court seeking to shift the wholesale traders of Gandhi Market to Kallikudi market, the district administration has begun informal consultation on establishing yet another integrated market.
The move comes in the wake of demand from various quarters and traders to set up an integrated market in the close vicinity of the city as an alternative to the Central Market for Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers at Kallikudi, where most traders refuse to shift citing long distance.
“I have held a preliminary consultation with officials of the Tiruchi City Corporation on the feasibility of establishing one more integrated market on the outskirts of the city. We need to factor in various aspects before coming to a conclusion on the issue,” Collector S. Sivarasu told The Hindu.
There were a few sites available including one at Panjappur. The merits and demerits of the sites would have to be analysed in detail, said Mr. Sivarasu without elaborating further.
The move reflects yet another dimension of the issue of shifting of wholesale trading activities from Gandhi Market to Kallikudi, where the Central Market for Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers was constructed on 9.79 acres at a cost of ₹77 crore with the funding of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). It was formally opened in September 2017. But contending that the market was located far away from the city, most Gandhi Market traders refused to shift their operations to Kallikudi.
In order to make use of the facility, the Department of Agricultural Marketing and Agri Business had decided to allot some of the shops in the complex to Farmers Interest Groups (FIGs), Farmers Producers Groups (FPGs) and Farmers Producers Organisations (FPOs) so as to provide them a marketing outlet. The District Market Committee, functioning under the department, subsequently allotted 104 shops to 52 FIGs, FPGs and FPOs. Each group was allotted two shops at nominal rent. The shops were allotted only to active groups and the allotment was done by a district-level selection committee. They began selling vegetables by bringing their produce from the fields.
Though the Kallikudi market is functioning partially with a group of farmer-traders, the purpose of shifting the Gandhi Market to the new market has not yet been achieved due to the stiff opposition of traders, who operate at the temporary market being functioned at G. Corner, which was set up to prevent the people gathering in large number at Gandhi Market to contain the spread of COVID-19. The traders have been urging the district administration to reopen Gandhi Market, citing the dip in COVID-19 cases. However, the district administration has little say as the High Court is seized of the matter.
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