As many as 293 big dams in the country are more than 100 years old, Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said on Monday as he introduced a bill on dam safety in Lok Sabha.
The bill seeks to set up the National Dam Safety Authority for proper surveillance, inspection and maintenance of specified dams as well as address unresolved issues between states.
Besides the National Dam Safety Authority, the government has proposed setting up A National Committee on Dam Safety in order to prevent dam failure-related disasters.
According to the bill, the committee would maintain standards of dam safety and also evolve policies for ensuring safety of dams.
Shekhawat said there are 5,344 big dams in the country and out of them, around 293 are more than 100 years old.
About 1,041 dams or 20 per cent are 50 to 100 years old, he added.
Further, the Jal Shakti Minister said that nearly 92 per cent of the dams in the country are built over inter-state rivers.
The National Dam Safety Authority would act as a regulatory body to implement policy, guidelines and standards for proper surveillance, inspection and maintenance of specified dams as well as address unsolved points of issues between State Dam Safety Organisations of two states, among others.
There would be an obligation upon the State Dam Safety Organisation concerned to keep perpetual surveillance, carry out inspections and monitor the operation and maintenance of specified dams under its jurisdiction.
The organisation concerned would also classify each dam as per vulnerability and hazard classification in accordance with regulations, as per the bill’s State of Objects and Reasons.
In 2018 also, the Dam Safety Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha but it lapsed with dissolution of the House.