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Cabinet approves introduction of Dam Safety Bill, 2018 in Parliament

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The Union Cabinet yesterday approved a proposal for introduction of the Dam Safety Bill, 2018 in Parliament.
 
The Bill, if passed, is expected to help all States and Union Territories to adopt uniform dam safety procedures which shall ensure safety of dams and safeguard benefits from such dams. 
 
It will also help in safeguarding human life, livestock and property, an official press release said.
 
The draft Bill has been finalised after wide consultation with leading Indian experts and international experts, it said.
 
According to the release, the Bill provides for proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in the country to ensure their safe functioning.
 
It provides for constitution of a National Committee on Dam Safety which shall evolve dam safety policies and recommend necessary regulations as may be required for the purpose. It provides for constitution of State Committees on Dam Safety by State Governments.
 
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.
 
The Authority shall maintain liaison with the State Dam Safety Organisations and the owners of dams for standardisation of dam safety related data and practices.
 
It shall provide the technical and managerial assistance to the States and State Dam Safety Organisations; maintain a national level data-base of all dams in the country and the records of major dam failures; examine the cause of any major dam failure; publish and update the standard guidelines and check-lists for the routine inspection and detailed investigations of dams and appurtenances; and accord recognition or accreditations to the organisations that can be entrusted with the works of investigation, design or construction of new dams.
 
The Authority will also look into unresolved points of issue between the State Dam Safety Organisation of two states, or between the State Dam Safety Organisation of a State and the owner of a dam in that State, for proper  solution.
 
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Further, in certain cases, such as dams of one State falling under the territory of another State, the National Authority shall also perform the role of State Dam Safety Organization, thereby eliminating potential causes for inter-state conflicts.
 
The State Committee on Dam Safety will ensure proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in that State and ensure their safe functioning. 
 
The Bill provides that every State shall establish a "State Dam Safety Organisation", which will be manned by officers from the field dam safety preferably from the areas of dam-designs, hydro-mechanical engineering, hydrology, geo-technical investigation, instrumentation and dam-rehabilitation.
 
There are over 5200 large dams in India and about 450 are under construction. Plus 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. Unsafe dams are a hazard and dam break may cause disasters, leading to huge loss of life and property, the release said.
 
"The Dam Safety Bill, 2018 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. It lays onus of dam safety on the dam owner and provides for penal provisions for commission and omission of certain acts," the release added.
 
NNN
 
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