New Delhi, Dec 24 (IANS): Of the 28 dams that were found to have major deficiencies of multiple kinds, deficiencies in 20 are to be rectified even after 11 to 69 months of their being pointed out, a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has found.
The rectification of deficiencies of dams has a direct bearing on the safety of these dams.
"Estimates for repairs of only eight dams were prepared but estimates of the seven of them were not even sanctioned by the higher officials," the CAG report on economic sector for the year ended March 31, 2019, Government of Madhya Pradesh, said.
The Water Resources Department (WRD) of Madhya Pradesh government is the principal agency for construction and maintenance of large and small dams. There were 4,523 (906 large and 3617 small) dams in the state as of December 2019.
The State Dam Safety Organisation (SDSO) had inspected 510 dams during the years 2016-17 to 2018-19 and reported 73 dams (72 dams under category II and one dam under Category I), which needed immediate repairs.
There is a three-stage dam inspection system and on the basis of the degree of emergency envisaged for attending and executing remedial measures, dams have been categorised into four types. Category I has dams having major deficiencies, which may lead to complete failure/mere (partial) failure and need attention at once while category II has dams with minor to medium deficiencies, which are rectifiable but need immediate attention.
The CAG had selected only 16 divisions for audit and the report brought out alarming statistics from the areas pertaining to only those divisions.
In the selected 16 divisions, 28 dams under Category II had major deficiencies, viz. heavy leakage from central masonry/dam body, choking of seepage drains, water pooling near downstream toe drains, formation of weed growth, disturbance of pitching, erosion of top width, leakage from sluice and damage of sluice, etc. For rectification of these deficiencies, estimates should have been prepared immediately.
Audit noticed that out of these 28 dams, estimates of only eight dams were prepared (February 2018-May 2019) by the Executive Engineers concerned, and of these, only one estimate (that of Chandora) was sanctioned (April 2018) under Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP-II); estimates of the remaining seven were not sanctioned by the Chief Engineers concerned even after eight to 24 months of their submission.
"Deficiencies in the remaining 20 dams have not been rectified even after 11 to 69 months of their being pointed out. Government replied (September 2020) that the estimates are being framed as per observations of SDSO and discussions to take up under DRIP-II were in progress," the CAG report released earlier this week said and warned, "The government needs to act quickly, as delay in preparation of estimates delayed the process of rectification of deficiencies of dams, which will affect the safety of these dams."