The World Bank-funded Rs.745-crore Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP), covering 104 dams in the State, will be launched in the next financial year (2011-2012).

Of the total number of dams, 66 belong to the Water Resources Department (WRD) of the Public Works Department (PWD) and 38 to the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO), successor-entity of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board. In the first year, 18 dams — WRD's 12 and TANGEDCO's six — will be taken up. They include Manimuthar, Nambiyar, Poygaiyar, Vadaku Pachaiyar, Kodaganar, Veedur, Gomukhi, Mordhana, Advinainainar, Kadamparai, Mukkurthi, Servalar, Avalanche and Glenmorgan, according to the two departments' officials. Of the project cost of Rs.745.49 crore, 80 per cent will be contributed by the World Bank and the rest by the State government.

On Saturday, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi issued an order for the formation of an 11-member empowered committee, headed by the Chief Secretary, to ensure expeditious implementation of the DRIP. The committee will include Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Public Works and Energy, TANGEDCO Chairman-cum-Managing Director and Engineer-in-Chief of the Water Resources Organisation.

The six-year project will also be implemented in three other States — Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. While the Department of Economic Affairs in the Union Finance Ministry will be the borrower of funds, the Central Water Commission under the Union Water Resources Ministry and the governments of four participating States will be the implementing agencies of the project. The World Bank is likely to sign an agreement with all shortly in New Delhi.

According to the project appraisal document hosted on the Bank's website, a total of 223 dams will be covered under the project.

Many are over 25 years old.

Tamil Nadu accounts for the maximum number of dams (104). Madhya Pradesh comes next with 50 dams, followed by Orissa, 38, and Kerala, 31. In Tamil Nadu and Kerala, dams under the control of the State power utilities are also covered.

The total cost of the project in the four States is around Rs.2,100 crore, of which about one-third is earmarked for Tamil Nadu.

The project will aim at assuring the full reservoir capacity of project dams, achieving effective utilisation of the stored water, and managing and monitoring the long-term performance of the dams.

The installation of automatic water-level recorders is among the features of the project, the officials say.

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