Security issues at Khadakwasla dam cluster due to inadequate workforce

Khadakwasla Dam
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Pune, August 21, 2020: The Khadakwasla dam cluster which includes four major dams- Khadakwasla, Varasgaon, Panshet and Temghar are facing security issues due to inadequate workforce. The emergency wireless system has been dysfunctional since the past few days and the irrigation department has paid no attention to the issue.

Many employees from the irrigation department have retired earlier this year due to which the workforce has been affected.

The number of employees working at the dams-
1. Khadakwasla- The total number of employees at Khadakwasla dam is 14 out of which nine are engaged in office work and only five employees are available for serious duties like the recording of water level, water control and safety.
2. Panshet- Only three employees are stationed at Panshet dam.
3. Varasgaon- Five employees are working at the Varasgaon dam.

Most of the staff are branch engineers and are not on duty. The irrigation department is not maintaining any record of employees reporting for work. Also, there is no thumb scanning machine for marking the attendance of the employees.

There is no presence of night guards for the security of the dams. Only one or two employees are stationed to control and oversee the whole dam. In the case of an emergency, the situation will spiral out of hand as one or two employees cannot control the whole situation. One of the major concerns is how can employees without proper technical knowledge tackle emergencies? Since the wireless system is also dysfunctional, how will they get the news of a calamity or an issue? All of these questions remain answered.

According to Sarpanch of Khadakwasla, a letter to appoint security guards and to carry out the repair work of all lights and cameras at the dam have been sent to the Irrigation Department’s Executive Engineer Vijay Patil. No presence of security guards at night is risky as it compromises with the security of the dam.

Deputy Engineer of Swargate sub-division of Irrigation Department Vaman Bhalerao said that due to the retirement of the employees and the freeze in the recruitment of the government staff, the workload has fallen upon existing employees. “We have placed a demand to hire security guards. Work related to the dams will be completed in phases according to immediate concern and priority”, he said.