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Parliament takes up discussion on dam safety bill

ANI | Updated: Aug 02, 2019 17:27 IST

New Delhi [India], Aug 2 (ANI): The Lok Sabha on Friday took up discussion on Dam Safety Bill, 2019 which seeks to provide uniform safety procedures for specified dams in the country with Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat stating that the Centre had no intention to take rights or powers of states and the bill was aimed at ensuring better safety and maintenance of dams.
Moving the Dam Safety Bill, 2019 for passage, Shekhawat said India had the third-largest number of dams in the world. He said of nearly 5700 dams, 293 were more than 100 years old and about 20 per cent were between 50 to 100 years old.
He said there was no direct correlation between the age of dam and possibility of a rupture but if a dam breaks it can lead to huge loss of life and flora and fauna.
Shekhawat said 92 per cent of dams in the country were built on inter-state river basins.
He said a draft dam safety bill was prepared in 2002 and expressed concern that a bill for passage had come to Parliament after 17 years.
Shekhawat said the bill has taken into account the recommendations of the standing committee.
Noting that the existing organizations on dam safety only had an advisory role, he said some dams were being jointly managed by states but there were instances of vast difference in the way they were performing the task.
The bill entails the creation of the National Dam Safety Authority as a regulatory body, which will implement the policy, guidelines, and standards on dam safety in the country.
It also entails setting up of State committee on dam safety and State Dam Safety Organisation.
A national committee on dam safety will be set up to evolve safety policies and recommend necessary regulations.
The bill seeks to address various issues concerning dam safety including regular inspection of dams, emergency action plan, adequate repair and maintenance funds, and instrumentation and the safety manuals.
The bill lays onus of dam safety on the dam owner and provides for penal provisions for commission and omission of certain acts.
RSP member N. K. Premachandran supported the bill while DMK member A Raja opposed the bill saying it was an encroachment on powers of state. (ANI)