Saturday, July 2, 2011

Mr. Hanumanth Rao, Mr. Dharma Rao and the entrepreneuring engineers

So the past few days I've been meeting with some retired engineers who used to be the Chief engineers of Andhra Pradesh. Both of these men come from different specialties and yet they have both decided to lend their expertise to the problem of the Polavaram Dam.

The area effected by the dam

Mr. H. Rao is an engineer who specializes in irrigation, so things having to do with water projects. He was in favor of the Polavaram Dam, but took the initiative to come up with an alternative plan to help avoid legal issues that the other Dam presented.

What he came up with was a series of barrages which would inundate less people, be created in a shorter amount of time, cost less money and would produce more energy than the current project. However, his project was cast aside because it would still displace about 60 villages, but this is a lot less than the 330 in the currently proposed project.

Also he was super fun to talk to and was cheery.

Brad, Ashlee, Mr. H. Rao, Drew, Myself and Mr. Bharath

The next day we went to meet with another Engineer, this time Mr. D. Rao (no relation to the first). Here was an engineer who became interested in the project after he saw all of these other plans for the dam which would displace many people, so he tried to think of an innovative way that would get rid of that problem while still achieving the aims of hydroelectric power and water transference to other areas of the state.

His idea was to have two tunnels which would have turbines to produce hydroelectric power. They would go from areas of high elevation to areas of lower elevation and would create the energy using gravity. Also there would be filters to ensure that the local wildlife would not be negatively affected by the tunnels and could be rerouted to natural routes.

This plan would mean no displacement for the tribal people, would still create energy, would take less time and cost less to make and would still divert the water to areas that need it. This plan was even the one that was recommended by the Supreme Court's panel who were looking at alternatives for this project. It was really interesting to hear about this! It seems like it might be hard to maintain (turbines only last about 15-20 years) but it would help solve some of the bigger issues at play.

Me, Rem, Mr. D. Rao, and Drew

It was very fascinating and informative to hear both of their plans for the project and how they would go about it. We're going next week to Rajamundry to see the actual site and meet with different officials. We'll see how it goes!


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