Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Burla (Sambalpur), Apr 14:
A 12-member team of officials from the World Bank, Central Water Commission (CWC) and Water Resources department of the Odisha government visited the Hirakud dam this morning.
The team, which arrived at Burla in Odisha’s Sambalpur district on Monday night, is here to review the proposal for construction of additional spillway on the left and right dyke of the dam.
The team arrived at Gandhi Minar on the opposite side of the dam to explore the possible location of the site for the proposed spilllway. After conducting the survey, the team later went to the other side of the dam where the proposed spillway would be constructed.
The team comprises the director and deputy director, Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP), technical assistant, specialist and consultant of the World Bank, chief engineer, (Dam Safety) Debasis Mohanty, Raj Gopal Ray, director, (Dam Safety), chief engineers of Hirakud Dam, Rabindra Panda and Biswajit Mohanty, deputy director, Water Resources Muralidhar Panda and an environmentalist.
Another member, who is the senior specialist of the World Bank, will join the team at about 2 PM, sources said.
“The team, after conducting the survey of the site for the proposed spillways today, is scheduled to have a meeting with dam officials and senior officials of the state Water Resources department,, said Yashobant Parida, executive engineer of Hirakud dam.
It may be mentioned that the Hirakud dam authorities had submitted a report to the CWC through the director of Odisha Dam Safety department to conduct an underway survey and repair of the crack in the existing spillway and power house chamber, survey for construction of additional spillways, new methods for early warning on flood in Mahanadi delta, emergency work plan for the dam project, anti-quake measures for the earthen dam and spillway, survey to ascertain the cause of the crack and holes in the dam, proper stone packing of the dam and measures to curb life and property and rehabilitation of the affected people in case the dam collapses.
In response to the report, a committee of the CWC had visited the dam and later submitted its report to the CWC after conducting a detailed survey. On the basis of the report of the committee, the joint team arrived here last night.
Sources said a final decision would be taken after the joint team submits its report.
Keeping in view the dam’s optimum capacity of 630 feet, 64 sluice gates and 34 crest gates were built to hold and discharge 15 lakh cusecs of water from the reservoir. Besides, instructions have been given to the dam authorities not to open the two crest gates each on both sides of the dam unless there is an emergency.
With the drastic change in the climatic condition in the upper and lower catchments of the river, the flood threat in Mahanadi has become 50 percent more. Since it is expected that the reservoir in the coming days would receive about 24 lakh cusecs of excess floodwater, a proposal was given by the CWC committee for construction of two additional spillways on the left and right dykes to ensure the safety of the dam.