Ravi S Singh
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 25
The Union Government has completed the formalities with the World Bank for funding of the Phase II and III of the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP).
In effect, this raises hopes of the project’s implementation kicking in sometime in the coming summer.
The formalities with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which will co-fund the project, will be completed soon, allowing for the rollout of the funds.
The funding period of the two international institutions will be ten years.
The Union government had approved externally aided DRIP II and III scheme with an outlay of over Rs. 10,211 crores on October 29, last year.
Out of the total outlay, Rs 7,000 crores will be equally funded by the two international institutions.
The two phases will initially cover 19 states and three Central agencies, including the Bhakra-Beas Management Board.
DRIP implementation and management of water resources figured during a Central Water Commission’s (CWC) meeting which was presided over by Union Minister of State for Jal Shakti Rattan Lal Kataria a few days ago.
Kataria was also informed that under DRIP – I, rehabilitation of 223 dams located in 7 states has been done with an estimated cost of Rs 3,466 crore. The official deadline of this phase is this March-end.
DRIP aims physical rehabilitation of key dams as well as capacity building of dam operators to ensure availability of trained and skilled manpower for better operation of dams.
“The consequences of dam failure can be catastrophic, in terms of loss of human life and property, and damage to ecology,” a functionary of the Jal Shakti Ministry echoing large scale destruction during in Kerala during the 2018-19 floods.
The DRIP programme complements the provisions in the Dam Safety Bill 2019, by ensuring capacity building of the dam owners as well as the proposed regulators, as well as creating necessary protocols for dam safety.
India ranks third globally, after China and the United States of America, with 5,334 large dams in operation. Besides, about 411 dams are under construction at present.
There are also several thousand smaller dams. These dams are vital for ensuring the water security of the country.
Indian dams and reservoirs play an important role in the economic and agricultural growth of our country by storing approximately 300 billion cubic meters of water annually.
They present a major responsibility in terms of asset management and safety. Due to deferred maintenance and other health issues, these dams have associated risks in case of failure.