Union Cabinet clears Dam Safety Bill
The Union Cabinet Wednesday cleared the Dam Safety Bill 2019, which aims to address all issues concerning safety of dams, including regular inspection, emergency action plan and comprehensive safety review.
The bill also lays onus of dam safety on the dam owner and provides for penal provisions for commission and omission of certain acts.
The legislation will help the states and Union territories to adopt uniform dam safety procedures.
The bill will also help in safeguarding human life, livestock and property.
Under the proposed law, a national committee on dam safety will be set up to evolve dam safety policies and recommend necessary regulations.
It provides for establishment of National Dam Safety Authority as a regulatory body which shall discharge functions to implement the policy, guidelines and standards for dam safety in the country.
The bill also provides for forming state committee on dam safety by the state governments to ensure proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in that state and ensure their safe functioning.
Over the last 50 years, India has invested substantially in dams and related infrastructures, and ranks third after USA and China in the number of large dams. Some 5,254 large dams are in operation in the country currently and another 447 are under construction.
In addition to this, there are thousands of medium and small dams.
About 75 per cent of the large dams in India are more than 25 years old and about 164 dams are more than 100 years old.
A badly maintained, unsafe dam can be a hazard to human life, flora and fauna, public and private assets and the environment. India has had 37 dam failures in the past 11 in Rajasthan, 10 in Madhya Pradesh, five in Gujarat, five in Maharashtra, two in Andhra Pradesh and one each in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu and Odisha.(ANI)