The first phase of underwater scanning of Hirakud Dam, the multipurpose river valley project built immediately after India’s independence, was completed here recently.

Scanning of the upstream face of the dam to assess the condition of cracks in it which began on December 7 was completed on Saturday, an official said.

"A three-member team from Central Soil and Material Research Station (CSMRS) recorded the underwater visual of the gate portion of the Dam with the help of Remote Operated Vehicle," Superintendent Engineer of the Hirakud Dam Project, R. K. Panda said.

The power dam would be scanned in the second phase which will begin on January 25 next year, he said.

The three-member team of CSMRS included divisional head of the Engineering, Geo-Physics Department Alex Verghese and scientists Virendra Pratap and Shiv Charan.

"We are hopeful that the work will get completed by first week of February and CSMRS will submit the report on condition of cracks and health of the dam to Water Resource Department by March first week," Panda said.

Decision on the treatment of the cracks will be taken after analysis report on the condition of the cracks is received, he added.

Some wide and fine cracks were found at concrete portion of spillway of the Dam before 1990s. The Hirakud Dam Cracks Review Panel and Dam Safety Review Panel had suggested for the treatment of the wide cracks, sources said.

Subsequently, the wide cracks were treated in 1990s.

However, the fine cracks had not been treated at that time.