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India on Edge: 209 dams more than 100yr old

As many as 209 dams in the country are more than 100 years old, while the Thonnur Tank in Karnataka is more than 1,000-year-old, Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal told Parliament on monday.

In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Meghwal said the Thonnur Tank in Karnataka was constructed in the year 1000, while Cumbhum dam in Andhra Pradesh was built in 1500.

The Tonnur tank is known for its clean, pristine water, which is located approximately 135 km from Bengaluru. It is spread over nearly 2,200 acres. The Cumbhum dam is built on Gundlakamma and  Jampaleru rivers in Andhra Pradesh.

Some of the oldest dams in the country are Dhamapur (1600) in Maharashtra and Barwa Sagar, Magar Pur and Pachwara Lake in Uttar Pradesh, all three constructed in 1694.

Meghwal said as per the records of the Central Water Commission, there have been 36 reported dam failures in the country.

The Machhu II dam in Gujarat, constructed in 1972 and reported failure in 1979, caused a loss of 1,800 lives, the minister added.

In response to another question, Meghwal said safety of dams, including its operation, rehabilitation and maintenance rests primarily with dam owners, which are generally the state governments, central and state power public sector undertakings, municipalities and private companies.

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