Dam Safety Bill, 2018
There are over 5200 large dams in India and about 450 are under construction and wants to bring about uniform safety net for all. Seen in file picture is Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujrat on September 17, 2017. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari is also seen.

India mulls Dam Safety Bill 2018 and a National Dam Safety Authority

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for introduction of Dam Safety Bill, 2018 in the Parliament. It will help all the States and Union Territories of India to adopt uniform dam safety procedures which shall ensure safety of dams and safeguard benefits from such dams. This shall also help in safeguarding human life, livestock and property.

The draft Bill has been finalised after wide consultation with leading Indian experts and international experts. The Bill provides for proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in the country to ensure their safe functioning. The also Bill provides for constitution of a National Committee on Dam Safety which shall evolve dam safety policies and recommend necessary regulations as may be required for the purpose. The Bill provides for establishment of National Dam Safety Authority as a regulatory body which shall discharge functions to implement the policy, guidelines and standards for dam safety in the country and  constitution of a State Committee on Dam Safety by State Government.

There are over 5200 large dams in India and about 450 are under construction. Plus there are thousands of medium and small dams. Due to lack of legal and institutional architecture for dam safety in India, dam safety is an issue of concern. Unsafe dams are a hazard and dam break may cause disasters, leading to huge loss of life and property.

The The Dam Safety Bill, 2018 is likely to address all issues concerning dam safety including regular inspection of dams, Emergency Action Plan, comprehensive dam safety review, adequate repair and maintenance funds for dam safety, Instrumentation and Safety Manuals. It lays onus of dam safety on the dam owner and provides for penal provisions for commission and omission of certain acts.

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