How a dam was built on river Cauvery by M. Visvesvaraya and led to sharp criticism..

Bharat Ratna M. Visvesvaraya was born on 15 September 1860/1861.

Prof Aparajith Ramnath of Ahmedabad Uni writes a superb account of how Visvesvaraya built the dam on river Cauvery against all odds. And how the expenditure on dam met with sharp criticism:

Paris and the Eiffel Tower, San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, Kolkata and the Howrah Bridge: some cities are fused in the imagination with iconic engineering works. If the more modestly sized city of Mysuru has such a symbol, it is the Krishnarajasagara or KRS reservoir and dam, constructed across the Cauvery River between 1911 and 1932.

The KRS, located about 20 km north of the city, is a constant presence in the lives of Mysoreans. Every summer, the newspapers are full of reports about the water levels in the reservoir, which irrigates large agricultural tracts and supplies drinking water across Karnataka. Locals and tourists encounter the KRS when they picnic at the Brindavan Gardens, laid out with shimmering lights and musical fountains in the shadow of the towering 130-foot dam. In the rains, many drive up to the dam’s waste weir to watch the water gush through the open sluices. Behind the dam lies the reservoir, a gigantic sea of blue—the sagara named after Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, erstwhile monarch of the state of Mysore.

But the KRS’s story is more closely tied to another, larger-than-life historical figure: Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya. It was during his time as Chief Engineer of Mysore that the project was green-lit; it was during his subsequent tenure as Dewan, or prime minister, that the early phases were constructed.

Very well written!

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