BJD Opposes Dam Safety Bill In Lok Sabha

New Delhi: The BJD on Wednesday opposed the Dam Safety Bill introduced by the Union Minister of State for Water Resources and Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal in the Lok Sabha.

Opposing the bill, leader of the BJD Parliamentary Party Bhartruhari Mahtab said the Centre has no legislative competence on the bill as the subject comes under the purview of state governments.

Stating that the Centre had introduced another Bill in 2010 whose basic purpose was to provide proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all dams of certain parameters in India to ensure their safe functioning, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto, he said purpose of the Bill introduced in the lower house has nowhere been mentioned.

He, however, said that Parliament will have the scope to implement a regulation if the purpose of the bill as mentioned in the earlier bill in 2010 is incorporated in this bill.

Stating that the preamble of the Dam Safety Bill of 2010 did not find place in the present Bill as it was a State subject, the BJD leader said the committee that was formed later had taken note of the fact that the regulation of safety of dams is yet to be declared by Parliament to be expedient in public interest.

Replying to the contention of the BJD leader, the Union minister, while giving instance to West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh in the present case, said that the Centre has the legislative competence if is requested by the two states to enact a law on the issue. He cited Article 252 of the Constitution to justify his statement.

Informing the members that there are over 5,200 large dams in the country while construction of 450 dams is underway, he said the safety of these dams remains a matter of concern due to lack of legal and institutional safeguards.

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