June 15, 2018
Chennai : Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapaddi Palaniswami on Friday called for a consensus on Dam Safety Bill and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold it in abeyance till a consensus is evolved among all states over the issue. The Bill in its present form spelt trouble as it entails encroachment on state’s powers by the centre.
The Chief Minister said in a letter to Prime Minister Modi that “I consider it appropriate that consensus of all the States be obtained before bringing forward such a legislation on Dam Safety.”
The Chief Minister cited media reports that said that the Union cabinet was about to give its nod to the Bill and said since the Bill could lead to usurping of powers of state, it should be held back for the time being. “In the 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 all the States are consulted and consensus is evolved,” the Chief Minister said.
Palaniswami said in September 2016, the then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had raised serious objections to certain clauses of the draft Dam Safety Bill, 2016 as it encroached upon the powers of the state governments and also the rights conferred on the state by virtue of inter-state agreements on dams owned, operated and maintained by Tamil Nadu but located in other state.
Palaniswami maintained that the central government did not circulate any revised draft after 2016 and it seems as if the union cabinet had accepted the Bill in its original form that was objected to by Amma. The proposed new Bill was approved by then union cabinet on Wednesday.
“This Bill would have wide ramifications on the Dams operated and maintained by State Government especially those Dams which are owned operated and maintained by the Government of Tamil Nadu, but are located in the neighbouring State,” the Chief Minister said.