Assam government mulls big dams safety legislation

Guwahati, Nov 19 The Assam government is mulling a legislation on the lines of the Centre’s Dam Safety Bill 2010 to ensure safety of people and property as well as adequate compensation for any loss incurred due to big dams in the state or its bordering territories.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, informing of the state government’s proposed legislation, today said a new Act to safeguard the interests of the people is being mooted by the state government. “The Act would be to ensure safety of the people,” he said.

The chief minister added that the Act would also stress on adequate compensation on any loss that the people may suffer due to a dam. “Such a piece of legislation will be beneficial for the state,” he said.

More than a hundred small and big dams have been proposed in Arunachal Pradesh and groups and individuals in Assam have aired serious concerns on possible devastating downstream impacts of these dams on the state. The Centre’s Dam Safety Bill 2010 proposes to ensure proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all dams of certain parameters in India and to ensure their safe functioning.

Besides, the Bill proposes to set out uniform dam safety procedure which shall ensure national investment and benefits by safeguarding human life, livestock and property. Though the Bill will be applicable only in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, besides the Union Territories, it has a provision that the Act shall also apply to such other State which adopts the Act by resolution passed on that behalf under Clause (1) of Article 252 of the Constitution.