How Gujarat's Morbi-Like Dam Disaster Was Averted In Madhya Pradesh

Villagers, who were shifted to shelter camps following a dam collapse warning, returned to their homes after the water was released through a channel on Sunday.

How Gujarat's Morbi-Like Dam Disaster Was Averted In Madhya Pradesh

The under-construction dam being built on the Karam river in Dhar district

Bhopal:

Madhya Pradesh averted a major disaster in tribal dominated Dhar and Khargone districts as a breach was reported in the Karam dam last week threatening inundation.

Villagers, who were shifted to shelter camps following a dam collapse warning, returned to their homes after the water was released through a channel on Sunday.

In 1979, Machchhu dam failure or Morbi disaster in Gujarat claimed 1,000 lives, according to government figures. But 42 years later, a similar disaster was averted in Madhya Pradesh. It not only saved the dam from collapse, but also prevented at least 18 villages from being washed away in flash and destructive floods.

The heros included machine operators Shiv Kumar Kol, Pappu Kumar Mahto, Sanjay Bharti, Mohd Syed Alam and Ramesh Kumar Kol and their helpers, Pramod Kumar, Suraj Kumar Kol, Nitish Kumar, Amit and Jai Singh. They were felicitated by Dhar collector on Independence day.

Members of NDRF and SDRF teams too who were felicitated by the state government at the special Independence Day event near the dam site.

"Joy of saving lives and dam is matchless. We forgot to sleep and food for around 36 hours and didn't fear losing our own lives, as our ultimate aim was to create the parallel channel as early as possible for the outflow of water from the dam. Having played a key role in saving lives and also the dam makes us feel proud and happy," machine operator Sanjay Kumar Bharti, a resident of Muzaffarpur in Bihar, told NDTV.

The under-construction dam being built on the Karam river in Dhar district since 2018 had developed leakage in its first test of massive rain on August 11.

Government officials from Dhar and Khargone districts as well as senior administrative and police officials from Indore and teams of experts from Bhopal, besides three cabinet ministers, had been camping on the dam site since August 11.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan monitored developments from the Situation Room in Bhopal and sat there for almost 21 hours during the operation.

Mr Chouhan left the situation Room located at Mantralaya on Saturday at 2 am and was again there on Sunday early morning. He also discussed the situation in a phone call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union home minister Amit Shah and Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat.

He also had a discussion with the member of Dam Safety Authority, Vivek Tripathi, and an elaborate plan was made.

"Till Saturday there was a situation of release of about 10 cumecs, which was successfully increased three and a half times to 35 cumecs. The entire action was taken keeping in mind the safety of life and property. Once the drainage started, the earthen wall was expected to widen and allow more water to drain out, but till afternoon expected amount of water did not drain due to side wall. Then the effort was started to create a completely safe environment by removing maximum water from the dam as soon as possible," Chief Minister Chouhan revealed how the operation progressed.

Water started coming out from the bypass channels from Saturday 9 pm. On Sunday, around same time Mr Chouhan announced, "Crisis is over for all 18 villages now. Successful handling of situation arisen out of leakage in Karam Dam is an excellent example of splendid disaster management."

Due to the hard work of all the heroes of Operation Karam in three days, the water that was 15.49 MCM on Thursday came to 2.93 MCM on Sunday night.

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