Parliament Passes Dam Safety Bill For Surveillance, Maintenance & Operation Of Dams
The Parliament has cleared the Dam Safety Bill, 2019 for surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams across the country. The Bill seeks to prevent dam failure, related disasters and provide for institutional mechanism to ensure their safe functioning.It was passed by the Lok Sabha in August 2019. The Rajya Sabha cleared the Bill today."It is expedient in the...
The Parliament has cleared the Dam Safety Bill, 2019 for surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams across the country. The Bill seeks to prevent dam failure, related disasters and provide for institutional mechanism to ensure their safe functioning.
It was passed by the Lok Sabha in August 2019. The Rajya Sabha cleared the Bill today.
"It is expedient in the public interest that the Union should take under its control the regulation of uniform dam safety procedure for specified dam," the Bill states.
The Opposition however alleged that the Bill is unconstitutional inasmuch as it encroaches upon states' rights and thus recommended that the Bill be sent to parliamentary standing committee for further scrutiny. A motion to this effect was however defeated in the house.
Surveillance and inspection
The Bill provides for perpetual surveillance, inspections and monitoring of operation and maintenance of all specified dams. This will be undertaken by the respective State Dam Safety Organisations, to be established by State Governments under Section 14 of the proposed law.
State Dam Safety Organisation
State Dam Safety Organisation shall be responsible to the technical head of the Department dealing with Dam Safety. In States having more than 30 specified dams, the organisation shall be headed by an officer not below the rank of Chief Engineer, and in all other cases, it will be headed by an officer not below the rank of Superintendent Engineer.
These organisations are empowered to investigate and gather such data as may be required for proper review and study of the various features of the design, construction, repair and enlargement of dams, reservoirs and appurtenant structures under their jurisdiction.
Records of dam failures and dam incidents
Every State Dam Safety Organisation is required to report the event of any dam failure under their jurisdiction to the National Dam Safety Authority. It is also required to maintain the records of major dam incidents of each specified dams under their jurisdiction, and furnish all such information to the Authority as and when required by them.
National Dam Safety Authority
The Bill provides for establishment of a National Dam Safety Authority by the Central government. It shall be headed by an officer not below the rank of Additional Secretary to the Government of India who have knowledge of, and adequate qualification, experience and capacity in, dealing with problems relating to the dam engineering and dam safety management.
Its functions include implementing policies of the National Committee, providing technical assistance to State Dam Safety Organisations, and resolving matters between SDSOs of states or between a SDSO and any dam owner in that state.
State & National Committees on Dam Safety
The Bill provides for establishment of a National Committee on Dam Safety by the Central Government and State Committees by the respective State Governments.
The National Committee shall be responsible for evolving policies and recommending regulations regarding dam safety standards. The State Committees shall discharge such functions as specified in the Third Schedule as may be necessary to prevent dam failure related disasters.