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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

GS-II :
  • 09 August, 2019

  • Min Read

Dam Safety Bill,2019

GS-II: Dam Safety Bill 2019

Context

Opposition MPs in the Lok Sabha have expressed deep reservations about the Centre’s decision to introduce the Dam Safety Bill, 2019, asserting that the legislation, which is ostensibly aimed at providing uniform safety measures across the country, would undermine the powers of State governments since water is a State subject.

Concerns

  • The bill is too focused on structural safety and not on operational safety.
  • There is inadequate compensation to the people affected by dams.
  • There is need for an independent regulator as well as for a precise definition of stakeholders.
  • Many states say it encroaches upon the sovereignty of States to manage their dams, and violates the principles of federalism enshrined in the Constitution.

Significance

  • The Bill will help all the States and Union Territories of India to adopt uniform dam safety procedures which shall ensure the safety of dams and safeguard benefits from such dams. This shall also help in safeguarding human life, livestock and property.
  • It addresses all issues concerning dam safety including regular inspection of dams, Emergency Action Plan, comprehensive dam safety review, adequate repair and maintenance funds for dam safety, and Instrumentation and Safety Manuals.

Need

  1. Over the last fifty years, India has invested substantially in dams and related infrastructures and ranks third after USA and China in the number of large dams. 5254 large dams are in operation in the country currently and another 447 are under construction. The Central Water Commission, through the National Committee on Dam Safety (NCDS), Central Dam Safety Organization (CDSO) and State Dam Safety Organizations (SDSO) has been making constant endeavours in this direction, but these organizations do not have any statutory powers and are only advisory in nature.
  2. This can be a matter of concern, especially since 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.

Source: The Hindu


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