Seeking attention to lacunae in the draft Dam Safety Bill, 2016, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Sunday said there is no pressing necessity for a central legislation on the issue as state governments have necessary expertise.
Indicating several aspects, which she claimed have not been covered by the draft Dam Safety Bill, 2016, Jayalalithaa has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking him to direct the Ministry of Water Resources to reconsider the need for the proposed legislation, and urged the Centre to “desist from needless adventurism.”
In her letter to Modi, which was released to the media, Jayalalithaa listed several aspects of the bill to contend that it might end up compromising the existing accountability mechanism and arrangements.
As State governments had adequate expertise and the Central Water Commission was also associated with dam safety aspects, “there appears to be no pressing need or necessity to have a Central legislation on the issue,” the Chief Minister said.
Jayalalithaa pointed out the draft Bill does not specifically provide for dams and reservoirs which are owned, operated and maintained by a state, but located in another state by virtue of long standing inter-state agreements which have been upheld through Supreme Court judgments.
“There are established rights under pre-existing long term agreements which require that certain dams in a State are operated and maintained by another state.
“Tamil Nadu’s Mullai Periyar, Parambikulam, Thunakkadavu and Peruvarippallam Dams are owned, operated and maintained by the government of Tamil Nadu by virtue of inter-state agreements, but are located in a neighbouring state,” she pointed out.