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Bill for dam safety introduced in Lok Sabha amid Opposition protests

The government on Monday introduced a Bill to set up a national authority as well as a committee for inspection and maintenance of dams across the country.

Bill for dam safety introduced in Lok Sabha amid Opposition protests

New Delhi: The government on Monday introduced a Bill to set up a national authority as well as a committee for inspection and maintenance of dams across the country.

Introducing The Dam Safety Bill, 2019, Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said the legislation is required for creating a standard criteria for the safety of dams across the country.

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He said the Bill seeks to set up the National Dam Safety Authority for proper surveillance, inspection, and maintenance of specified dams as well as to address unresolved issues between states. Besides the authority, the government has proposed setting up a national committee on dam safety in order to prevent dam failure-related disasters.

According to the Bill, the committee would maintain standards of dam safety and also evolve policies for ensuring the safety of dams. 

Shekhawat said that 92 per cent of the total of 5,344 dams in the country are built on inter-state rivers and that 293 big dams are over 100 years old.

Revolutionary Socialist Party member N.K. Premachandran opposed the Bill, saying water is a state subject, while Biju Janata Dal`s Bhartruhari Mahtab also questioned the bill`s legislative competence.

Congress member Shashi Tharoor, who also opposed the bill, suggested that it should be sent to a parliamentary standing committee.