Concern on the old dams and bridges and the threat they pose to the general public was raised by the members during the special session of Uttarakhand assembly on Tuesday. The members said that many dams and bridges in the state were constructed during the British times and most of them have completed their age.
In the question hour, the Bhimtal MLA, Ram Singh Keda raised the issue of Bhimtal dam and the seepage from the Bhimtal Lake. In his response, the tourism and culture minister Satpal Maharaj said that the Bhimtal dam is more than 100 years old. He accepted that the problem of seepage is there from the dam. The minister added that the Government has requested the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), Roorkee to identify the seepage areas in the dam.
“In its response the NIH has mentioned that the seepage cannot be marked by the normal isotope method so the help of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) for use of gold isotope technology for identifying the seepage points is being taken,’’ Maharaj said.
Intervening in the discussion, the Ranikhet MLA, Karan Mahra said that the state still has large number of dams and bridges which were constructed by the British. He said that the most of these structures have completed their age. “They have served the society well but now we cannot take the risk of continuing to use them. The Government should undertake an in-depth technical inspection of these old structures and take appropriate steps for public safety,’’ Mahara said.
He added that the Government should come out with an elaborate plan on the population residing on the downstream side of these dams and inform about the expiry date of these structure.
In his reply Satpal Maharaj accepted that the issue is very serious. He said his department has constituted a ‘dam safety review panel’ which would hold technical survey of all the dams and propose measures for ensuring their safety.