A bill seeking to set up an institutional mechanism for surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of specified dams across the country was passed by Lok Sabha on Friday with the Centre asserting it has no intention of taking over power of the states.
The provisions of the bill is proposed to be applied to all specified dams in the country which have height of more than 15 metres, or between 10 metres to 15 metres.
Responding to the debate on the Dam Safety Bill, 2019, Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said the Centre has no intention of taking over the powers of state through the draft law.
Water is a state subject.
The Minister asserted that through the proposed law, the Centre does not want to take control of the dams, its water or the power generated by it.
He also made it clear that there will be no interference on part of the Centre or the Central Water Commission officials.
Observing that safety of dam is extremely important as it concerns lives of people, property and flora and fauna, the Minister said "there is a need to have a common protocol for safety of dams in the country."
Among other things, the bill also seeks to resolve the inter-state issues concerning maintenance and safety of dams, he said, adding as many as 92 per cent of dams in the country are on inter-state river basins.
The bill, he added, envisages constitution of a National Committee on Dam Safety headed by the Chairman, Central Water Commission.
Participating in the debate, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said there are still issues to be resolved and urged the Centre not to encroach upon the rights of state governments.
DMK's A Raja said the bill is an onslaught on the federal structure.
Trinamool lawmaker Mahua Moitra said the bill impinges on the powers of states and the federal structure.