The cabinet committee on economic affairs on Thursday approved a Rs 10,211-crore project to improve the safety and performance of select dams across India.
The dam rehabilitation and improvement project (DRIP)--phase II and phase III--is financially supported by the World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. India is the third ranked country in terms of total number of dams, next after the US and China, and it has 5,334 big dams and another 412 dams under construction. “Almost 80 per cent are over 25 years old….There is a need for rehabilitation and improvement of these structures,” the minister said.
DRIP will be implemented over a period of 10 years in two phases - each of six years with two years overlapping from April 2021 to March 2031. The first phase of this project started in 2012.
Shekhawat said 207 dams have been repaired in the six years, but their ownership lies with states that will priortise dams to be included in DRIP. “This project is on a challenge mode...The states which will make more progress will get more funds.”
The share of external funding in the total cost of the project is Rs 7,000 crore. The balance Rs 3,211 crore will be borne by the concerned implementing agencies. Government will contribute Rs 1,024 crore as loan liability and Rs 285 crore as “counterpart funding for central component.”
The objective of the project is to improve selected dams and associated structures in a sustainable manner and strengthen the dam safety institutional setup in participating states as well as at central level.
“Dams where water based tourism can be started or fisheries revenue be generated is something we will explore as part of this project now,” Shekhawat said. The project would also work towards institutional strengthening and system wide management approach for the rehabilitation and improvement of dams and associated structures.