4,536 Dams without Emergency Action plan

Today everyone is debating the catastrophe that struck Uttarakhand but there are more than 4500 structures in the nation which are at high risk and doesn’t have contingency plan to counter the effects of the natural disasters. It is high time that the planners of the country to act to save the rendering area and property vulnerable to cascading effects of dam failure. Most of the rivers have been flowing above the danger mark and it seems a strong flood control measures are missing in the country.

In May 2006 the Central Water Commission issued guidelines for development and implementation of emergency action plan which has been ignored till date. It seems the water resources ministry’s guidance has been ignored till date and no lessons has been learnt by the state governments. However, the better solution to this problem should have been a centralize solution rather than state initiatives. Only eight states till September 2011 have prepared emergency action plan for 192 large dams in the country among 4728 large dams. If the states continue to ignore solutions for any reason whether economical development or casual approach towards environmental issues it is bound that a large number of people will be affected due to natural disaster in the coming years. The disaster management of this country should be made more proactive and effective than what it is now. Many also feel that disaster management should be part of the army as they are the ones which the country looks up to when a catastrophe is struck.

Approximately 96% of the countries dams don’t have any contingency plan or emergency plan for controlling floods keeping a huge area and property vulnerable to disasters. According to the audit report prepared by the Comptroller and Auditor General which was tabled in the Parliament in April 2013 it has been found that majority of the dams are at high risk despite efforts in setting up institutions and creating funding arrangements, there are critical loopholes in the preparedness status for various disasters. The authority responsible for sending first information regarding flood forecasts is Central water commission as the Crisis Management Plan of the Public Accounts Committee report points out. While the PAC is currently examining the disaster management plan after all that happened in Uttarakhand. The flood prone areas in the country like Assam, Bengal, Bihar etc. should be dealt in much cautioned way. So many people are internally displaced due to natural disasters who face severe distress due to lack of food, shelter and drinking water as there is no proper mechanism to tackle the aftermath of natural disasters in the country. The government should be answerable to its people that why we become so helpless when it comes to analyzing the damage and be prepared for it. We are on our way towards economic development but development cannot be snatched at the cost of environment and societal issues.

A developed nation is a nation which is capable of providing security, safety and basic necessities during any catastrophe. We cannot call ourselves developed if so many people go missing in Uttrakhand due to cloud bursts when there is technology available to be prepared for it. So many dams are at risk is clear indication of the lethargic approach of the state and central governments which due to their vote bank politics keep avoiding environmental norms while so many Indians keep losing their life and property. This can also be proved when we see the Crisis Management Plan prepared by the Water Resources Ministry every state should have a Dam Safety Organization to address the safety issues of large dams in every state. By the end of July 2012 only 14 states had prepared DSO. Reports keep saying the same old story of inefficiency in implementation of various projects across the country.

It’s high time when people should hold the policymakers accountable for their inefficiency in order to improve the condition of the country.

china dam--621x414

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