Pune: The four dams - Khadakwasla, Panshet, Varasgaon and Temghar - which form the Khadakwasla cluster are facing security-related problems sans adequate workforce. The emergency wireless system is non-functional for many days and the irrigation department has ignored it for so long.
At present Khadakwasla dam chain has 3.03 TMC total storage capacity and 1.97 TMC usable reserves. Varasgaon Dam is 92 per cent and Temghar Dam with a total storage capacity of 3.81 TMC and 3.71 TMC of useful reserves is 75 per cent full. Many employees of the Irrigation Department working on these dams have retired in May this year and earlier.
The total number of employees at Khadakwasla Dam is 14 out of which nine employees are for office work while only five employees are available for water control, water level recording, safety, information and other work. Only 3 employees are available on Panshet dam and 7 on Varasgaon dam.
Some of the available staff are branch engineers and some are not present on duty. Since there is no thumb scanning machine for daily attendance, the Irrigation Department has no record of which employees are on duty every day.
The dam has no security guards. During night hours only one to two employees manage the entire security of the dam. What can one or two employees do in case of an emergency? How to get information quickly if the wireless system malfunctions? How will employees without technical knowledge handle emergencies? Irrigation department does not have answers to many such questions at present.
Saurabh, Sarpanch of Khadakwasla said, "A letter has been sent to Irrigation Department's Executive Engineer Vijay Patil asking him to appoint permanent security guards on the dam and repair the lights and cameras on the dam. There are no security guards deployed during night hours which is compromising with the security of the dam."
Vaman Bhalerao, Deputy Engineer of Swargate sub-division of Irrigation Department said, "A demand has been placed with the higher-ups to hire private security guards. Due to freeze on recruitment of staff at the government level, there is work stress on the existing staff. In the next few months, some of the employees are retiring. Some important works related to the dam are being completed in phases with priority."