Late that night of July 2, shouts of “Dharan Futla, Dharan Futla” (The dam has breached!) saved the already-scared 62 year old Narayan Gaikwad and his family, as the family ran to nearby hill[i]. Tivare Dam (Longitude: 73° 42′ 0″; Latitude: 17° 36′ 0″ as per CWC’s National Register of Large Dams), across a rivulet in the Vashishthi Basin of coastal Maharashtra breached around 9.30 pm on July 2, 2019, taking 24 men, women and children with its fury.
But how many and how much of Maharashtra would be saved considering the fact that Maharashtra has India’s highest number of large dams, BY FAR? And especially considering the serious questions this episode is raising about the absolute lack of accountability of the government dam establishment.
These questions become pertinent for Konkan region of Maharashtra, where Tivare was located as this region faces highest rainfalls in the state, steepest slopes and is tainted with several incomplete, illegal, inefficient dams which are posing a risk to humans and environment. SANDRP had published a report on incomplete and illegal dams in Konkan region 3 years back[ii]. High Court, SIT Committee Report headed by Madhavrao Chitale and even CAG [iii]had singled out dams in Konkan for their inefficiency and violations at multiple levels. The situation remains the same till date. Experts and past dam bureaucrats put on record that conventional dams-and-canals approach does not work in the steep and hilly region of Konkan. Quality assurance of dams is nearly nonexistent, lighter soils are used in dam cores and even after doing all this, displacing thousands of people and submerging Western Ghats forests, “Area irrigated by Konkan dams may be less than the area submerged by them”[iv] Continue reading “Tivare Dam Disaster: Surviving in the State with maximum dams”
The tendency of filling up reservoirs in the beginning and middle of monsoon season have been leading to avoidable flood disasters in the country. Apart from Kerala flood 2018, which was aggravated by mismanagement of reservoirs, various reports show that reservoirs in river basin of Cauvery, Krishna, Godavari and Ganga were also filled up well before the end of South West monsoon season. Resultantly there were many man made flood spells in downstream areas affecting lives and livelihoods of people.
After highlighting role of dams in floods in Kerala and how improper dam operation affected people in Assam and Himachal Pradesh, this third and concluding part throws light on other dam induced flood (and canal breach) incidents in 2018. Continue reading “Dams Floods 2018: Filling up Dams well before Monsoon end, Invitation to Disaster”
On the evening of November 29, 2017, a shutter of Krishnagiri Reservoir Project[I] (KRP) dam in Krishnagiri district, Tamil Nadu has breached sounding flash flood alarm in downstream areas. The Collector C. Kathiravan has also put five districts of Krishnagiri, Tiruvannamalai, Dharmapuri, Vellore, and Villupuram on high alert following the sudden breach. The disaster management and rescue department have been called in to assess the situation. Leading a high level expert team Murugu Subramaniam Chief Engineer (CE) Public Works Department (PWD) responsible for operation and maintenance of the dam has also inspected the site which was followed by M Thambidurai. Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
Krishnagiri KRP Dam First Door Damage Viral Video
Interestingly KRP dam project is listed in the Central Water Commission’s national registry of large dams. It is also covered under Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) and there was an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) workshop at the dam site only in 2016. Surprisingly, the incident has occurred just a year after all the 8 shutters were repaired at a cost of ₹1.10 crore reports The Hindu.[II]
The flash flood would impact the downstream villagers particularly riverbed farmers. As the dam was storing water for rabi crops, the breach is also bound to affect dependent farmers. Worsening the situation further, India Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned of heavy rains in the state due to ongoing cyclone Ockhi.
In fact, the KRP dam breach has raised many questions and issues which need to be answered and addressed immediately.
Continue reading “Krishnagiri Dam Breach Is Wake Call For Dam Safety In Tamil Nadu And Elsewhere”