New Delhi: In an effort to boost the safety of dams in the country, the Jal Shakti Minister, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, introduced the Dam Safety Bill, 2019, in the Lok Sabha today. He said that 92% of the dams in the country were interstate and there was a need for such a bill.
Safety of the dams is of prime importance as it can directly affect the lives of thousands of people. The bill moots the idea of creating a National Dam Safety Authority as a regulatory body which can implement the policy, guidelines, and standards on dam safety in the country.
A national committee on dam safety will develop safety policies and necessary regulations to ensure that the dams are safe. The Bill touches upon every aspect related to dam safety including regular inspection, emergency action plans, funds for adequate repair and maintenance, and instrumentation and the safety manuals.
The Bill also entails creation of State Dam Safety Organization. It also puts the responsibility of dam safety on the owners and stipulates penal provisions for commission and omission of certain acts.
However, the Opposition has been opposed by several members who protested that water and land are state subjects and the Bill was introduced without consulting the states.