Tamil Nadu

Transparency need of the hour to ensure dam safety

The KRP Dam breach and the draining of 1 TMC of water from the reservoir conflict with the mandate of the Dam Rehabilitation Implementation Project (DRIP)- that funded dam safety works in KRP Dam.

Water security

The World Bank-funded – DRIP proclaims dam safety to enable water security and asset management, according to its web portal. Whereas, in this case the asset was not maintained and water security could not be ensured.

The usefulness of project under its current institutional form is questioned by dam safety experts. In the light of fresh information on the causes of the breach, The Hindu spoke to Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People and editor of magazine ‘Dams, Rivers & People’.

According to him, the piecemeal spending lends no real intervention to the structural or operational safety of the dam.

“Dam safety issue should be governed by greater transparency, participation and accountability. Today, it is a close club affair of Central and State government officials, and some consultants appointed by them. Everything is secretive,” says Mr.Thakkar.

According to him, dam safety committees should have independent members, with minutes of the meeting, their decisions, and full information about the dam safety works in the public domain, with representation for two local communities.

On the possibility of chemical contamination and water quality, Mr.Thakkar underlines the dam safety mechanism for each dam to consider specific needs and terrain of each dam.

“This will address pollution and other operational issues. We also need coordination in dam operation across a basin, since unsafe operation or disaster at one dam impacts other dams in the basin.”

Circular

In the wake of KRP breach, an internal circular had been issued to inspect the structural safety of dams over 50 years in the State, PWD sources said. There are 18 dams over 50 years old in Tamil Nadu.

According to Mr.Thakkar, ideally, this age-based categorisation and intervention should have been the first step under DRIP, even before the breach.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2021 4:40:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/transparency-need-of-the-hour-to-ensure-dam-safety/article21910146.ece

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