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Pradeep Pattanayak

After reports of cracks developing at several places in the Hirakud dam came to the fore, discussions regarding the safety of the dam have now kicked off. 

The report has it mentioned that the operation gallery, foundation gallery, gate shaft and sluice barrels of both left and right spillway have developed cracks. 

Taking the development seriously, the Chief Engineer, Dam Safety has written a letter to the Chief Engineer and Basin Manager, Mahanadi Basin, Burla, asking him to get the dam inspected by an expert panel as soon as possible. 

Notably, the Dam Safety Review Panel (DSRP) team had visited the Dam in 2020 and recommended further study of the cracks. 

The team also suggested a drone-based inspection of the downstream face to take up, underwater videography of the face of the concrete spillway and cracks in the gate operation gallery need attention. 

As per the suggestions made in the survey report, a survey was to be taken at least once in every five years. As no fresh survey has been undertaken since 1999, mapping of the new cracks was necessary along with the status of the old cracks. 

Cracks on the downstream face were to be mapped and a comprehensive assessment and mapping of the cracks noticed on the various faces of the dam to be combined in a single document and drawing in a block-wise fashion. 

The unusual observations were to be reported along with a copy of the comprehensive map for a suitable remedial solution. 

The exercise of crack mapping was to be extended to the foundation gallery and videography to be extended to the power dam portion.

Meanwhile, assuaging the concern, the Chief Engineer of Hirakud dam said that there is no threat to the structure of Hirakud dam. The department undertakes inspection at frequent intervals. The dam maintenance is a regular process, which is being ensured. Cracks have been packed. However, special survey hasn’t been done after 1999. 

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