Sambalpur: The Hirakud Dam reservoir is gradually losing its water retention capacity, as silt deposits from the upper catchment areas are accumulating to the detriment of the dam’s stability, said a report.
According to a survey conducted by the Central Water Commission in 1995, the dam had 37.35 per cent sand-casted land which has gone beyond 40 per cent, as on date. As a result, water retention capacity of the dam has declined by one-third.
Bargarh MP Suresh Pujari became vocal, a couple of months back, by drawing attention of the state government. “A grant of Rs 6,00,00,00,000 (six hundred crores) announced by the Central Water Resources Department should be utilised for immediate repair and maintenance of Hirakud Dam”.
Construction of the dam started in 1948 was completed in 1956 and its lifespan was estimated to be about 100 years. It has already sustained for 75 years and has developed huge cracks in the meanwhile. If it pulls down due to lack of adequate maintenance, both Bargarh and Sambalpur towns will be washed away, he added.
Experts have apprehended that the multi-purpose dam would cease to be of utility if steps are not taken to repair it immediately and “it may collapse within 25 to 30 years”.
Moreover, due to rusting most of the sluice gates of the dam are being operated manually. The State government should constitute a special team to expedite repair and take up maintenance works, locals have demanded.