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2019-07-18

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Water power:The Bill aims at improving safety of dams.PTI  

The Centre is set to introduce the Dam Safety Bill, 2019 in Parliament after it was cleared by the Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday.

A version of the Bill was first introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2018 (and which subsequently lapsed). It aims to put in place a systematic procedure to ensure that India’s 5,600 dams are made and maintained safely.

Various editions of the Bill have been introduced since 2010 but it has never been successfully passed, largely due to opposition by States at various times. Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Odisha have opposed the Bill on the grounds that it encroaches upon the sovereignty of States to manage their dams. The Bill lays the onus of the dam safety on the dam owner and provides for penal provisions for wilful “commission and omission of certain acts.” The The Bill also provides for establishment of a National Dam Safety Authority as a regulatory body to implement the policy, Javadekar said.

The CCEA also approved the Rs. 1,600-crore pre-investment expenditure for the Dibang Multipurpose Project in Arunachal Pradesh, India’s largest hydropower project.

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