A dam failure might have a huge impact on millions of people’s lives and property. According to a new analysis, the Gandhi Sagar Dam on the Chambal River in Madhya Pradesh is in desperate need of repair. It is one of the five major water reservoirs in the country.
According to a report released by the Controller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on December 23, 2021, the dam has been plagued by serious difficulties for years, including, a lack of regular checkups, and non-functional instruments, and clogged drains.
In 1960, the Gandhi Sagar Dam was built to provide potable water to many Rajasthan regions as well as create 115 megawatts of electricity. According to reports, it has been breached multiple times in recent years, creating floods in downstream towns.
Sheopur, Morena, and Bhind — three districts in the state with a combined population of 4.35 million (as of the 2011 Census) — are downstream of the dam.
According to the publication, the state dam safety organisation (SDSO), which is responsible for its upkeep, did not follow the Central Water Commission’s (CWC) and Dam Safety Inspection Panel’s (DSIP) recommendations for remedial measures.
The CAG report noted that due to operational problems at the dam, both the inspection galleries and the powerhouse were entirely filled with water in September 2016.
In 2018, a break occurred in the Ledi dam, a tiny reservoir beneath Gandhi Sagar in Mandsaur, due to a lack of pre- and post-monsoon inspections between 2016 and 2018.
According to Bharat Gosavi, retired chief engineer of BODHI Water Resources Department in Bhopal, “Indian dams are quite old and built according to the rainfall pattern of the past decades.” He noted that erratic rainfall in recent years has made them vulnerable, which is why these problems are occurring.
The Dam Safety Act, according to Gulshan Raj, head engineer of CWC, will ensure that state governments follow their recommendations.
“The Gandhi Sagar Dam” is managed by Madhya Pradesh’s water resources department. The CWC’s only role is to make recommendations to the state government on how to address the issues. However, we can’t make them accept our recommendations,” he stated.