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The Lamka Times

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Centre plans a law for Dams' safety in the country

New Delhi, Feb 21 (ANI): Union Water Resource Ministry has plans to introduce a Bill in the parliament for the safety of large dams in the country in the Budget Session.

The Budget Session of the parliament starts from Monday.

The decision was taken, as most of the dams in the country are over 50 years old.

According to the National Register of Large Dams, 2009, India has 4,710 completed dams, while 390 dams are under construction.

The Water Resources Ministry said the proposed bill aims to establish an institutional system to regularly monitor the safety of large dams.

Some states in the country have their own dam safety laws. States like West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh have authorised Parliament to enact a law in this regard.

As per constitutional provisions, if two or more states authorise Parliament to make a law on a State subject, the Centre can pass a law.

Other states can pass a resolution in their legislatures to adopt the law passed by the Parliament, as the water is a state subject.

Ministry said that while the Centre will carry out the overall monitoring, states would have to set up their institutional system to ensure dam safety.

Under the new bill, a Dam Safety Cell will be set up at the project level, while a Dam Safety Organisation will be constituted at the state level.

Another similar organisation will be established at the level of the owner of the dam. The owner could either be government or a private operator.

The operators will have the obligation to allow inspections by experts to ascertain safety of the structure.

The Ministry also clarified that it was a general law, as dams need constant monitoring and strengthening. (ANI)

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