Govt plans new law for reservoirs

Govt plans new law for reservoirs

Govt plans new law for reservoirs
In order to ensure safety of reservoirs in the country, the Centre is planning a national law with the provision of setting up the National Dam Safety Authority.

The Ministry of Water Resources has finalised a Dam Safety Bill for this purpose, and it is likely to get Cabinet approval soon, a senior ministry official told Deccan Herald.

"The bill will fix accountability and rehabilitation in case of disasters. It is not required because we don't have a Central act for dam safety, but because the private sector is increasingly getting involved in the construction of dams, mainly in hydropower projects,” the official said. Though the UPA government had introduced a similar bill in 2010, it lapsed with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha. The new law is set to be a revised version, he said.

The bill will create a mechanism for surveillance, inspection and operation of all dams (central and state controlled) to ensure their safe functioning. As per the provision of the legislation, there will be a national-level authority, which will be headed by chairman of the Central Water Commission and will have ministry officials as members as well as experts.

There will also be a committee at the state level that will periodically inspect the reservoirs and report to the national authority. The proposed law will ensure that the respective dam controlling authorities — either state or central governments — would allocate sufficient funds for the maintenance and repair of specified dams, and establish disaster management and emergency action plans.
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