Check dams and unchecked designs!

Check dams and unchecked designs!
  • Crores of rupees go into drain
  • Experts warnings ignored

Hyderabad, Velugu: The very purpose of constructing check dams to save water and ensure more water for irrigation and to improve ground water levels has been defeated with poor quality of construction and defects in their design. The warnings of engineer and experts, that the defects in designing of the check dams is the main reason for it and the dams constructed so are not even sustaining for ten years, have been ignored. That many such dams have been swept away within very short period of time indicates that the government is not at all interested in their quality and just allocating the contracts to ruling party leaders and prominent people in the government to fill their pockets. In the wake of collapse of many dams the engineers and experts highlighted the shortcomings in their designing and brought it to the notice of the government. But no action and quality has been undertaken to rectify the loopholes. It is really shocking many dams being swept away even during the times of their construction.

The TRS government wanted to construct the check dams on streams and tributaries in the basin areas of river Krishna and Godavari to increase the ground water levels and also sent expert team to Maharastra to study the check dams already functioning there. After studying check dams in Kolhapur the group, consisting of senior engineers, submitted its report, clearly saying that such dams will be successful in the areas where there is more rainfall and also that the dams are not at all suitable for Telangana. In support of its contention the group also gave an example that thousands of check dams, constructed in low rain fall areas in Vidarba, Marathwada were not successful. Ignoring the report not to go for check dams, the state government ordered the Irrigation Department to make designs for the construction of 1200 check dams. Under the supervision of CDCEO Chief Engineer the engineers team gave designs to the government clearly saying the kind of dams that could be built on rock soils and sand soils. Basing on the report the construction of check dams was started in the state and the government gave administrative sanction for constructing 650 check dams initially with an investment of Rs 2,847.71 cr.

The suggestions of the retired engineers, that the check dams being constructed across above the stream flow have huge designing defects and they get cracks very soon, and that they would not sustain even for a period of ten years, were also set aside by the government. They even went ahead and suggested an alternative model of Nimmala check dam to save an amount of Rs 1,200cr and gave a comprehensive report in this regard giving an example of Sadarmat dam built during the Nizam period some 125 years back. But nothing was taken into consideration by the government which went ahead with defective designs in constructing check dams. It is even really shocking to note that there has been no feasibility report even for a single one out of 600 check dams being constructed and many dams filled with silt and as there has been no action to remove it in time the problem has aggravated. The  government did not even built river sluices so as to avoid formation of silt. As most of the check dams have started facing silt problem and there is a possibility that they will very soon get cracks and thereby become useless.