Palaniswami urges Centre to keep Dam Safety Bill in abeyance

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CHENNAI, JUNE 16,
Two days after the Union Cabinet approved the draft Dam Safety Bill, 2018, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to keep the decision in abeyance till a consensus is achieved on the matter through consultations with all States.
Though former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had opposed certain clauses of the draft Dam Safety Bill, 2016, circulated by the Centre, no revised draft had been circulated since then, and “it is presumed” that the Bill, in its original form, had been approved by the Union Cabinet on June 13, 2018, the CM said.
“This Bill would have wide ramifications on the dams operated and maintained by the State government, especially those that are owned, operated and maintained by the Government of Tamil Nadu but are located in neighbouring States,” Mr. Palaniswami said in his letter to the Prime Minister.
The Chief Minister also considered it appropriate that consensus among all States was obtained before such a legislation on dam safety was brought forward.
“In the [prevailing] circumstances, I request you to kindly keep in abeyance the decision arrived at by the Government of India to legislate an Act on dam safety, till such time [that] all the States are consulted [with] and [a] consensus is evolved,” Mr. Palaniswami said, adding that he expected a reply from the Prime Minister in this regard.
Among the objections raised by former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to the Bill were that certain clauses encroached upon the powers of the State governments and also on the rights conferred on the State by virtue of inter-state agreements on the dams owned, operated and maintained by the Government of Tamil Nadu but located in other States.
She had insisted that the legislation on dam safety should be re-examined and “should not be proceeded with in haste, without considering the objections raised by Tamil Nadu,” Mr. Palaniswami pointed out.

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