Water started leaking from Kamleshwar dam, a major reservoir inside the famous Gir forest which is the only natural habitat of endangered Asiatic lions, after its releasing head-work developed a minor breach on Friday.
Gir Somnath district collector Ajay Kumar said the breach was reported on Friday morning. “We were informed about the breach in the morning. It is a very minor breach in the structure called release head-work from which water is released in irrigation canal. A team of experts from Gandhinagar has reached the dam site and they are working to plug the leakage. By evening, around 30 per cent of leakage was plugged. The operation to repair the breach will continue overnight and we are confident the leakage will be stopped by Saturday afternoon, ” the collector told The Indian Express late on Friday evening.
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Kamleshwar dam is located in western part of Gir forest. It falls in Talala taluka of Gir Somnath district. The dam is the largest in Gir forest and a major lifeline for flora and fauna of the local ecology. It also provides irrigation water to many villages in Talala taluka.
However, the leakage comes at a particularly bad time. Rains have not been good in that part of the state this monsoon and the collector said that the dam was filled only around 30 percent.
The dam is also home to hundreds of marsh crocodiles. It is also a major tourist attraction. It is located inside tourism zone of Gir forest and tourists going on lion safaris inside Gir forest from Sasan pass on the bunk of the dam. Downstream the dam is the scenic valley of Hiran river.
Gir forest and other protected areas spread over Gir Somnath, Jinagadh, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts in Saurashtra region is the only natural home of Asiatic lions in the world. In fact this region is the only place outside Africa where a subpopulation of wild lions is living.
The collector said the administration was aware of the importance of the reservoir and was sparing no effort to plug the leakage at the earliest.