“Let me recollect my memories in one sentence: Sabarigiri is a beautiful project, beautifully executed,” says M.K.Parameswaran Nair, former chief engineer and member of the Kerala State Electricity Board, who was closely associated with the project work from its very beginning.
“We have a creditable history of manually completing the design and tender drawings of the 360-ft high Kakki dam and obtaining the Central Water Commission’s approval for the same in a record time of one month,’’ says Mr. Nair.
M.K. Parameswaran Nair, Kingston Samraj, and M. Sankaranarayana Iyer, all eminent civil engineers, were the trio that had completed the design work of the concrete gravity dams of the Sabarigiri project. “It was commissioned in record time, without waste of time due to labour agitations or significant accidents,” he adds.
Mr. Nair recalls that the 360-ft high concrete gravity dam in Kakki was the tallest of its kind in Kerala at that point of time. And now, the Cheruthoni concrete gravity dam has taken over the position. All the components of the project, including the 360-ft high Kakki dam were visualised, designed and executed by KSEB engineers. “As Indian standards were not available during that period, design of all major components were done, adhering to the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) manuals, he says.
“We had no calculators, computers or software like today, so the entire planning, design of various components, preparation of construction drawings, project management and monitoring, concrete mix design, etc., were done using slide rules and logarithm tables. I would also say with certainty that the environment and ecology of the region has not been adversely affected by the construction and operation of this comparatively large project,” asserts Mr. Nair.