TODAY -

Editorial of the week

Sitting dangerously
Courtesy: The Sangai Express 03rd July, 2006



It is alarming enough that cracks have appeared in the Singda Dam Multi-Purpose Project, but what is more alarming is the report that the authority concerned has not done anything concrete to negate any possible outcome. Some days back, The Sangai Express ran a story of how cracks have started appearing in the Singda Dam Multi-Purpose Project and in the follow up story that we conducted it was found that the villagers are living in a state of perpetual fear and apprehension as the authority concerned has not done anything positive to repair the cracks or take up steps to check further cracks.

Experts from the Geological Survey of India are understood to have surveyed the area and suggested that the department concerned take up the needful action such as dredging the excess mud and to keep a constant watch over the dam. However as reports received from the villagers say, nothing much seems to have been done to restore the confidence of the people. So far we have not received any official status report on the condition of the dam or the action taken up by the department concerned and it is this silence we find deafening.

The reservoir area of the dam covers approximately 125 acres while the water storage capacity is about 8.51 million cubic metre. During Monsoon when the dam is filled to capacity we can imagine the water volume of the dam and we can also imagine the destruction it may cause should a portion of the dam give way due to the water pressure. The Singda Dam was set up with the objective of generating power and provide clean drinking water to the people, especially to the local people, but when such beneficial projects begin to threaten the lives and properties of the people due to Government negligence then it is time for some tough talking.

As soon as the news of the cracks appearing in the dam was reported we had expected the Government and the department concerned to get its act together and assess the situation and of course announce the steps taken up to pre-empt any disastrous consequences. Instead of this happening, what we see today is the villagers ringing the alarm button and living in a state of perpetual fear and apprehension that the dam may cave in and destroy their lives and properties.

What are the guidelines given by the Geographical Survey of India ? These are questions that ought to be answered and fast. Lest we are mistaken, we are not being alarmist and saying something disastrous is going to happen, but a little precaution with the Government doing its part of the duty is not going to hurt anyone. Even as the Government seems to be sleeping over the new development, it is heartening to note that the villagers of Singda have reacted positively to the suggestions of the IFCD to abandon their traditional method of agricultural activities which are ecologically and environmentally hazardous.

The villagers on their part seem ready to reduce rearing livestock to check water pollution and look for an alternative means to jhum cultivation. The only hitch are the likely steps to be taken up by the Government to provide them an alternative source of agricultural activity and livelihood. The steps being mooted and received positively by the villagers is for the safety of the dam and by extension the safety of their lives and properties. It is now the turn of the Government to see how they reciprocate and of course the first thing is to see how the cracks can be repaired and how the surrounding hillocks can be made stronger.




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