Sinlung /
27 September 2011

Mizo Villagers Flee As Dam 'Poses Threat'

Serlui-B Dam under contruction in MizoramAizawl, Sep 27 : Villagers of North Chawnpui in northern Mizoram have fled their homes every night as they fear that the dam of Serlui B could collapse anytime.

As we can no longer get a sound sleep in our homes, which could be inundated by waters anytime, we sleep in two large halls at a place called Tlangveng which lies at higher altitude, about two kilometers from our village, said Lalngheta, a resident of North Chawnpui said.

According to Lalngheta, there are 77 families in the village, who packed up before the sunset and left the village for each night since the last few weeks. We venture out of our village during the daytime to do our daily works. Those family members who remain at home prepare dinner which we have usually before sunset. Then we leave the village for the night. That is our daily routine since the last few weeks, Mr Lalngheta said.

The halls where they sleep have been constructed with fund from the MGNREGS. This fear has been caused by the water leakage at the surge shaft gate which also prevented the much-awaited 12 MW Serlui B hydel project from being commissioned.

The villagers fear that the possibility of inundation is high as their village is situated only two kilometers away from the dam and the route of Serlui B river passes through the village. Officials may not share our fear because they don t see the ground reality. Let them come here and spend the night with their wives and children and only would they understand the situation, the villager said.

We are well aware of the water leakage in the dam, and that even engineers from the company have not been able to fix it, he said. According to officials, water is leaking from the surge shaft gate when sealed at the rate higher than permissible amount.

According to the agreement, the leakage of water from the sealed surge shaft gate should not be higher than 1.2 liters per second. In that case, the Serlui B hydel project cannot be commissioned even though the project has been completed, power and electricity engineer-in-chief C L Thangliana has said. The official informed that the contractors have been trying to fix the defect.

The surge shaft gate had a test run during last year s monsoon when the reservoir was filled to the brim.

The works at the biggest state-owned hydel project were divided into five major phases--earthen dam, diversion tunnel, powerhouse, spillway tunnel and hydro-mechanical works. The first four phases were completed on May 30, 2009 and completion certificates have been submitted.

Even though the hydro-mechanicals works have also been completed, completion certificate is yet to be submitted as it has not been formally on test-run, the officials said.

Facts About Serlui-B Dam
Operator: Mizoram Power & Electricity Dept
Configuration: 3 X 4 MW Kaplan
Operation: 2008
T/G supplier: BHEL
EPC: Patel Engineering, Aarti Infra-Projects, Mecon

Quick facts: This is the largest hydro plant in Mizoram. The site is near Bilkhawthlir Village in Kolasib dstrict. The DPR was approved in Feb 1999 and a turnkey contract was awarded to BHEL and Mecon in Dec 2003. Serlui-B has a 293m long, 51m high earthfill dam a 415m headrace tunnel, a 135m pressure tunnel, and a semi-underground powerhouse. The project cost Rs 191cr.

Photograph courtesy of Mizoram Power & Electricity Dept

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