Cabinet approves Dam Safety Bill

New Delhi, June 13 (IANS): The Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave its approval to a bill aiming at formulating safety procedures and standard specifications for construction and maintenance of dams.


The Dam Safety Bill provides for proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams across the country to ensure their safe functioning, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal told reporters here after the Cabinet meeting.


“There are 5,200 big and small dams in the country and 450 are under construction. But the safety of dams was never discussed in holistic manner. After today’s Cabinet decision, all states and union territories will be able to work for safety of these dams with uniform procedures,” said Goyal, adding the government would bring the Bill in Parliament soon.


He said the Bill will take care of livestock, human beings and properties of people in the dam areas “in a better way”.


The bill has provisions of surveillance, inspection, operations and maintenance.


A regulatory body, the National Committee on Dam Safety, will be set up to evolve dam safety policies, recommend necessary regulations and implement policy, guidelines and standards for dam safety, he said, adding that there will be state committees at state level.


“Centre and states can share technical and managerial inputs with each other to create national database of these dams. Using this database, they can find out reasons behind the past dam accidents or they can do root cause analysis to avoid such accidents in the future,” Goyal said.


It will help in formulating standard specifications and guidelines for construction, inspection and maintenance of dams.


“… Technical supervision, maintenance of big dams is quite important. High-technology is used in it,” he said.