Every fourth major dam in Maharashtra has defects that need immediate attention.
A Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India’s report has revealed that 313 out of the 1,332 major and medium dams in Maharashtra — roughly 23 per cent — have deficiencies that demand urgent attention.
As per the Annual Health Status Report (2017-18) of the Dam Safety Organisation (DSO), Nashik, 313 dams have category 2 deficiencies, the CAG report stated.
The DSO, which carries out periodical inspections of dams, categorised the health of the dams into three categories, said a senior water resources department official.
Category 1 deficiencies are major deficiencies that can lead to failure.
Category 2 deficiencies are rectifiable deficiencies needing immediate attention, while the dams identified in Category 3 are those with minor or no deficiencies.
“It was found that there were no dams with Category 1 deficiencies, 313 dams with Category 2 deficiencies, and the remaining 1,012 dams were in Category 3,” the report stated, quoting from the Annual Health Status Report (ASR). The DSO is still in the process of compiling the ASR for 2018-19, said sources.
Commenting on the status on the repairs, the CAG report stated that out of the 313 dams, deficiencies were “fully rectified” in only 13 cases, and “partially” rectified in another 77 cases. The DSO’s findings were on the basis of inspections carried out in 1,325 dams.
In 2014, another CAG report had rapped the government for taking safety inspections of dams and their repairs too lightly.
Senior officials said that the mechanism had since been beefed up.
Iqbal Singh Chahal, Principal Secretary (Water Resources) said, “Inspections of each of the major and medium dams is carried out at least once a year.”
He added that the department had set aside 10 per cent of the annual development budget of Rs 11,000 crore towards special dam repairs.
Water cesses, totalled Rs 800 crore, collected by the five irrigation development corporations are also meant to be used towards dam repairs, he said.