Cabinet approves Dam Safety Bill

New Delhi, Jun 13 The Union Cabinet today approved a proposal for enacting the Dam Safety Bill 2018, which will help the states and union territories to adopt uniform safety procedures to ensure safety of reservoirs.

The Bill also seeks to constitute a national committee on dam safety which shall evolve safety policies and recommend necessary regulations, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal told reporters.

There are over 5,200 large dams in India and about 450 are under construction. In addition, there are thousands of medium and small dams. Due to lack of legal and institutional architecture for dam safety in India, dam safety is an issue of concern.

The Bill 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.

In certain cases, such as dams of one state falling under the territory of another, the authority shall also perform the role of State Dam Safety Organisation thereby eliminating potential causes for inter-state conflicts.

The legislation will address 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, instrumentation and safety manuals.

The Bill also provides for constitution of a State Committee on Dam Safety by the state governments.

The provisions of 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 draft bill has been finalised after wide consultation with leading experts and international experts, Goyal said.

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