TT: To what extent was your department responsible for the sudden release of water from Tenughat dam on June 21?
Kumar: Releasing surplus water was a compulsion since it would have otherwise inundated several nearby localities
But, the current was strong and Bokaro district authorities averted a tragedy by ordering closure of the dam gates
That was because surplus water was released simultaneously from DVCís Konar dam, too
What precautions were taken before releasing water from Tenughat?
We published notices in local newspapers and informed the SDO and BDO that surplus water may be released any time after June 16
Are warning sirens used before releasing water?
It is mandatory. In this case, too, the siren was sounded four times, audible within a radius of one and a half kilometre
Did you depute officials near river banks to stop people from going into the water?
I am looking into it. But, do we have adequate manpower? Please ask the Bokaro administration what action was taken after we published the notices
Can you elaborate?
We released barely 3,000 cusecs intoDamodar, which would have led to a one and a half feet increase in the water level. The trouble was near Chandrapura, where Damodar meets Konar
But this kind of mishap has happened earlier too, especially in the Subernarekha basin.
Adequate preventive steps are always taken before release of water. But, sudden rise in levels occur during the rainy season. We are bound to release water then. People must be careful
Any other remedies?
Intense publicity drives are very important. Newspaper notices often go unnoticed. We are considering other campaigns
Can you assure people that a repeat of the Tenughat incident will not take place again?
We are trying our best
What are your immediate plans?
We are focusing on completing long-pending irrigation projects, like Subernarekha Multipurpose Project. As construction stops during monsoon, we are finalising tenders and revising DPRs.