Chief Secretary Parbodh Saxena directed the officials to take stringent action for violation of the Dam Safety Act as the people are facing unprecedented challenges this year due to the rising water level, flash floods, and heavy rains triggering disaster all over the State.
Chief Secretary was chairing a meeting on safety issues regarding the discharge of water from dams. He said that the situation of rising water flow in the rivers and flood water in many localities of the state especially in Kangra district. He said that part of the devastation was natural but responsibility must also be fixed for the failure of the dam authorities for non-compliance of the Dam Safety Act-2021 (DSA).
He said that Central Water Commission guidelines issued in 2015, with respect to the release of water from the dam and strengthening the early warning system post-2014 incident in which 24 students from Andhra Pradesh were washed away. He said that the Act provides for the surveillance, inspection, operation, and maintenance of all specified reservoirs. However, many dam authorities have failed in fulfilling their duties that have resulted in damages to public and private property, and agricultural produce, besides hampering the road networks significantly. He told the officials that the time for persuasion and dialogues was over and we should not shy away from taking stringent action against the defaulters.
It’s time to send notices and not any letters or reminders, said the Chief Secretary while directing the concerned officers and officials to prepare a detailed report on damages caused due to the negligence of the dam authorities and take legal action against them.
He further stated that the recent crisis in the state downstream areas can be attributed to the failure of the dam safety check, which was either neglected or was not done as per the standard guidelines of the DSA. He added that there are relevant provisions under the DSA, like setting up Early Warning Systems, Water Release Guidelines, setting up of Control Rooms, Reservoir Maintenance, Emergency Action Plans,s and better communication between Dam Sites and Power Houses, etc. He asked the officials to make sure that these stringent provisions are implemented on the ground.
The Chief Secretary added that risk assessment of the dams must be done on a regular basis and ensure that dam safety units are functional round-the-clock. He also stressed on the effective functioning of the State Committee on Dam Safety and State Dam Safety Organization.
DGP Sanjay Kundu, Financial Commissioner, Revenue, Onkar Chand Sharma, Director Energy, Harikesh Meena, Director-cum-Special Secretary (SDMA) D.C. Rana, Secretary, MPP & Power, Rajeev Sharma, Chief Engineer (Energy) Department of Energy, Er. D.P. Gupta and Deputy Chief Engineer, Department of Energy, Deepak Jasrotia, and other senior officers were present in the meeting.