MP dam breach: Channel created to drain out water; Oppn alleges scam in project, seeks probe
Days after a breach was detected in the wall of an under-construction dam on the Karam river in Madhya Pradesh's Dhar district, a channel was dug up to drain out water from it to prevent the possibility of it bursting, officials said on Sunday. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan Chouhan said there was no need to worry and efforts were on to drain out water from the reservoir. He also termed the steps taken after the dam breach detection as the ''finest example of disaster management''. However, the opposition Congress alleged corruption in the dam project and demanded a judicial probe into the incident. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) sought the resignation of Water Resources Minister Tulsi Silawat ''on moral grounds'' and also demanded a probe into the contract given to a ''corrupt'' firm for the construction of the dam.
The breach in the dam, located some 35 km from the Dhar district headquarters, was reported on Thursday, after which an alert was sounded as 18 villages downstream, including 12 in Dhar and six in Khargone, were in danger of getting inundated, officials had earlier said.
A channel was dug up to drain out water from an under-construction dam on the Karam river after a breach in a wall of the reservoir. The water started releasing safely through the channel at 3 am on Sunday, officials said.
With this, the threat of the dam bursting due to the water pressure and causing a disaster has reduced, some experts said.
Also, a pause in rains in Dhar since Friday has stopped further accumulation of water in the reservoir which would have otherwise complicated the situation, they said.
The dam is being constructed about 35 km from the district headquarters at a cost of Rs 304 crore.
Eighteen villages downstream would have submerged had the dam burst. CM Chouhan kept an eye on the situation from his office for 16 hours in the secretariat and returned home at 3 am on Sunday after the dam water started draining out through the channel, the CM Office (CMO) said.
He was back in his office at 11 am on Sunday to monitor the situation further, a government release said.
Chouhan has informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah about the water leak from the dam, the CMO said.
In a statement, Chouhan said the chief engineer, commissioner, senior police official and collector were on the field.
''There is no need to worry. But we won't sit quiet till the entire water from the reservoir is drained out. Efforts are on to empty the dam,'' he said.
Chouhan also said the need of the hour was for political parties to refrain from levelling allegations and rather focus on public safety.
He said the efforts taken post-leak from the dam were the finest example of disaster management. He also thanked the prime minister and Union home minister for providing assistance to deal with the situation. Teams of the Army, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and other agencies were at work and prepared to deal with any emergency situation. Two helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) had also been put on standby, officials said.
Thousands of people from 12 villages in Dhar district and six villages in Khargone have already been shifted to safer places, they said.
Minister Silawat and Industries Minister Rajvardhan Singh Dattigaon had gone to the dam site to take stock of the situation, the officials said.
Slamming the BJP goverment in the state, Leader of the Opposition in MP Assembly Govind Singh demanded a judicial probe into the dam leak. ''If the chief minister is without a blemish and clean and wants to put forth his side of honesty, he should go for a judicial inquiry to bring out the truth…,'' Singh told reporters at the dam site.
The Congress leader alleged that there was corruption in many projects in the state. Asked about Chouhan's statement that political parties should shun from indulging in politicking over the dam's leak, Singh said, ''I have not come here to indulge in politics. Rather I have come to see around 50,000 people of 20 villages including farmers, labourers are tribals who have been displaced by the development. They are staying on hilltops, schools without food and drink. The government has not made any arrangements for their food.'' The CPI(M) demanded the resignation of Silawat on moral grounds and also sought a probe into the contract given to a ''corrupt'' firm for the construction of the dam.
''The minister should stop giving sermons,'' MP CPI (M) secretary Jaswinder Singh said in a statement seeking a probe into the dam wall breach.
The licence of a Delhi-based company was suspended and cancelled for indulging in corruption and irregularities in 2016-17 by the state government (of the BJP). But this company was given the contract of Rs 305 crore to build the Karam dam, which developed a leak during its first fill of water, he alleged.
''Without checking the quality of the work, the company has been paid. This scam is not restricted to the bureaucratic level but happened under political patronage. This needs a thorough probe,'' Singh said.
He alleged that the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of MP Police had registered a case in connection with the Karam dam but it was put in cold storage.
Singh said, ''Such a big scam of criminal and corrupt nature has put the lives of 22000 people (living downstream of the dam) at stake. Silawat should resign on moral grounds. He can't shrug off his responsibility.'' PTI COR LAL BNM GK NSK NP NP
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)