The Maharashtra government blacklisted two contractors and plans to file a cheating case against them after a state-appointed panel found cracks and leaks in a dam they built in Pune’s Mulshi taluk.
This is probably the first time a contractor is being booked for inferior work. There have been instances where they have been booked for inflating costs.
The construction of the Temghar dam, one of the four dams on the Mula-Mutha river basin that supplies water to Pune city, began in 1997 and was completed in June 2010. Following heavy rains this monsoon, the dam developed cracks and the local administration noticed leakages.
“We appointed a technical committee to look into complaints about the dam’s construction. The committee’s report has said the construction work was inferior. Cases will be registered against the two contractors in Pune. We will also act against all state engineers and officials who were involved in supervising the work,” said Girish Mahajan, the state’s water resources department minister.
“Partial water collection in the dam started from 2001-02, and leakages came to the fore almost immediately, the committee’s report found. The amount of leakage increased when water storage in the dam went up,” Mahajan said.
While the contractors tried to grout the cracks in 2012, the leakages continued. Mahajan said following the report, all contracts allotted to Srinivasa Construction and Progressive Construction in the state will now be terminated.
The committee also recommended that the state government undertakes urgent repairs to the dam, which could cost Rs103.96 crore, of which at least Rs50 crore should be released in 2016-17 itself. The sum can later be collected from the contractors, the committee has said.
The dam has a water storage capacity of 3.812 thousand million cubic feet. Leakages such as these could have disastrous consequences for the city. In 1961, Pune’s Panshet dam burst after heavy rainfall, destroying larges swathes of the historic city.