The Dam safety billDate: 07 December 2021 Tags: Bills & Laws
The Parliament has passed the dam safety bill amid strong objections from the Opposition parties.
The Rajya Sabha cleared the bill in this session. The bill was passed in Lok Sabha in 2019.
There was a demand by the opposition to send the bill to Parliamentary Standing Committee to get it scrutinized. The motion was defeated.
The bill aims to ensure that all states and Union Territories adopt uniform dam safety procedures.
Under the act, a National Committee on Dam Safety will be formed. The committee will be composed of a maximum of 10 representatives of the central government in the ranks of joint secretary, a maximum of seven representatives of the state governments, and three experts.
Provide for surveillance
Operation and maintenance for prevention of dam failure-related disasters
Provide for institutional mechanism to ensure their safe functioning
State dam safety organization
The bill will also mandate formation of a state dam safety organization responsible for the dam safety.
It is responsible for investigating and gathering data for proper review and study of the various features of the design, construction, repair and enlargement of dams, reservoirs and appurtenant structures.
It is required to keep a record of major dam incidents of each specified dam. It must report events such as dam failures to the National Dam Safety Authority.
National Dam Safety Authority
Under the act, a National Dam Safety Authority will be formed, headquartered in New Delhi. Problems relating to dam engineering and dam safety management will be handled by an officer not below the rank of Additional Secretary to the Government of India.
Need for the bill
Dam safety is a matter of concern due to lack of institutional architecture for dam safety. Dam break can result in huge loss of life and property.
Opposition by Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu has been opposing the bill citing lack of consultations with state government. It will hamper the rights of the states.
The main opposition is regarding a clause that will prevent states from exercising rights with respect to the dams constructed by it in neighbouring states.
Tamil Nadu wants to retain its power in controlling the dams, autonomy, and ownership of the assets which it has constructed in Kerala.