Army moves in, IAF copters on standby as MP fights dam crisis


MHOW/BHOPAL: The Army moved in on Saturday to neutralise the threat posed by a breach in Karam dam on river Nalcha in MP’s Dhar, which has led to the evacuation of 5,000 people and kept the entire region on the tenterhooks since Thursday.
On the same day, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan spoke with PM Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah and requested for Air Force choppers to be kept on standby. Sources said that 17 villages may need to be evacuated.
The under-construction dam, which according to officials is 90% complete, sprung cracks on Thursday. The reservoir was filled up for the first time this monsoon but the wall failed within days.
After government engineers failed to plug the breach, the Army was called in. Soldiers from the Bhopalbased Sudarshan Chakra Corps arrived in the wee hours of Saturday, barricaded the area and went to work with heavy machinery.
The 40 soldiers from Army Engineers Corps, including two officers and 15 JCOs, are among 400-odd personnel from the water resources department (WRD), police and administration working frantically to empty Karam dam’s reservoir. Two IAF choppers are on standby, government sources said.
The CM briefed PM Modi and Shah about the cracks and seepage in the under-construction stop dam. He also spoke with Union jal shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and officials of the central water commission.
Chouhan spoke with the collectors of Dhar and Khargone districts and directed them to ensure that people and cattle are taken to safe shelters, and provided with basic facilities.
WRD subdivisional officer VK Siddiqui said that the first thing the Army did was to clear out all civilians, who had gathered to see the dam repair. The soldiers deployed two earth movers to the left of a hill, which is the lowest point that can be excavated easily to let the reservoir water pass into Nalcha river.





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