BY THE EDITOR:
The Umiam Dam finally look forward to an extended future with work now under way to refurbish the structure. The refurbishment is crucial for public safety due to the sturcture’s deteriorating condition. The commencement of drilling activities on December 13 has led to disruption in traffic movement on the bridge, but that is only to be expected and does not call for any public antagonism towards the work. The initial phase involves reinforcing weak sections of the bridge with cement. Officials of the firm entrusted with the work have expressed confidence in completing the renovation within the stipulated four months. Once completed successfully, the dam’s lifespan is expected to extend by approximately 25 years. The work under Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) will address the deterioration of the dam’s concrete foundation, primarily caused by passage of vehicles over the bridge for an extended period. Before implementation of the project detailed studies were done like leakages, cracks if any, defects to be rectified, etc by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati, Assam.
When things get older with time and might become faulty due to constant usage then there is possibility of accidents at any moment causing danger and casualties to human lives and properties. Therefore it is highly essential that necessary precautionary measures be taken before disaster strikes. “Prevention is better than cure” is a well – known adage and hence to be heeded. The Umiam Dam was constructed by Japanese engineers way back in early 1960s during Assam government’s tenure and so it is high time that special attention be paid well in advance. Government of India has extended financial assistance to the tune of Rs 180 crore for implementing DRIP in the state. Umiam Dam is one amongst others in the country included under DRIP by the central government. State government has said that under DRIP Leshka power project and other dams will also be undertaken.
Dams are very useful structures which benefit the people in many ways ranging from storing drinking water for humans and livestock, for irrigating dry fields, for controlling floods, for power generation, providing lakes for recreation or as refuges for water birds. Due to heavy rain in upper region a large amount of soil or silt is carried down the slopes and deposited in the reservoir which in course of time might be so filled with it and quantity of water much reduced that will affect purpose for which dams are built. For preventing such occurrences trees and grass are planted along watershed areas that feed the river. The trees and grass hold the soil and keep it from washing into the rivers during rainstorms. Bearings on which the bridge is resting are checked and noted down including vibration test. Inspection of dams at regular intervals is important because in case of failure it will result in disaster to surrounding areas.