Recently, RajyaSabha has passed the Dam Safety Bill, 2019. According to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on old dams of India, the Gandhi Sagar Dam in Madhya Pradesh needs immediate repairs.
According to the CAG report, lack of regular checks, poor equipment and obstructed evacuation have been the major factors causing damage to the dam over the years.
Other issues highlighted by CAG
- The State Dam Safety Organization (SDSO) has not followed the recommendations of the Central Water Commission (CWC) and Dam Safety Review Panel (DSIP) on remedial measures.
- Irregular release of water.
- No measures have been taken to deal with the changing pattern of rainfall.
- Dams are artificial barriers built on rivers to store water. These help in irrigation, power generation, flood control and water supply.
- As of June 2019, there were 5,745 major dams (including dams under construction) in India.
- India is the third largest dam country in the world after China and the US.
- Most of the dams in India are built and maintained by the states. Some large dams are managed by autonomous bodies, for example the Damodar Valley Corporation or the Bhakra Beas Management Board for the Bhakra-Nangal project.
- More than 75 percent of these dams are more than 20 years old. About 220 dams are more than 100 years old. These pose greater security risks.
Dam Safety Bill (2019)
- The Bill proposes to help all states and union territories to adopt uniform dam safety procedures. The Bill seeks to establish an institutional mechanism to ensure the safe functioning of particular dams in the country.
- It ensures adequate monitoring, inspection, operation and maintenance of all major dams in the country, so as to prevent disasters related to dam failure. This bill was passed by the LokSabha in the year 2019 itself.
Source – The Hindu