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Gujarat: Floods dampen mega riverfront project
Anil Nair in Ahmedabad | August 23, 2006 10:24 IST
The gushing flood waters that raised the level of the Sabarmati river alarmingly in the city recently have also raised doubts over the completion of the Gujarat government's ambitious river front project.
Concerns were voiced over the multi-crore project, the first of its kind in the country, where a river front area would be developed as a public place, after 2.75 lakh cusecs of water was released from the Dharoi dam.
Officials connected with the project are however still optimistic and say that flood waters will not drown the project.
When flood waters came gushing in and submerged all the hutments along the river bank, it also completely submerged the concrete pathway constructed by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and all the earth-moving equipment that were on the riverbed.
Still optimistic that the Rs 1,400 crore project will be completed successfully, Ahmedabad city municipal commissioner I P Gautam told PTI, "The pathway has been designed in such a manner that it may be submerged during floods but when the water recedes, it will be clear that there are few damages."
However, the second phase of the project will be in such a manner that flood waters would not affect it.
Regarding the several earth movers and numerous other smaller equipments that were submerged when the river swelled, the AMC commissioner said they had warned the contractors to remove their machines and if they were not taken away from the river bed prior to the floods it was not the fault of the authorities.
However, in spite of the foresight of the riverfront project's designers (that the pathway would be submerged if water level rises), there are concerns over similar release of water in future and officials are re-studying the river's carrying capacity.
An AMC official connected with the massive project said AMC and the irrigation department had agreed that the carrying capacity of the Sabarmati would be 3.5 lakh cusecs after the riverfront project is over.
"However the release of just 2.75 lakh cusecs from the Dharoi dam flooded the structures constructed for the project. There is a quick need to work out the carrying capacity of the river again", the official said on condition of anonymity.
The AMC commissioner said they would ensure that the water-carrying capacity of the river does not reduce even if the width of the river is narrowed.
The ambitious project of the Narendra Modi goverment aims at making the riverfront a place where visitors could eat or enjoy amusement rides.
A joggers park is also in the offing and numerous hotel chains have shown interest in opening shop at the upcoming venue.