Chennai, Jan 6:
The State government on Saturday conveyed its opposition to the Dam Safety Bill, 2018, in the present form, and demanded its immediate withdrawal.
Asserting that the rights of Tamil Nadu, which heavily depended on the neighbouring States for water, will be affected if the bill comes into force, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami told the Assembly that the Bill should be amended to ensure that the Dam Safety Organisation of a State should have jurisdiction over the dams owned, controlled, operated and maintained by it, even though they are located in another State.
Responding to the issue raised by DMK member U. Mathivanan on Saturday, Mr. Palaniswami said Mullaiperiyar, Parambikulam, Thunakkadavu and Peruvaripallam dams are owned, operated and maintained by the Tamil Nadu government by virtue of Inter State Agreements, but are located in a neighbouring State.
The Bill aims to deny Tamil Nadu the right to be the Dam Safety Authority with regard to these four dams and vesting the powers to the National Dam Safety Authority (NDSA), would tantamount to encroaching upon the rights of Tamil Nadu, and this is unconstitutional and violation of the federal principles enshrined in our Constitution.
Recalling the steps he had taken to prevail upon the Centre to pass the bill only with the consensus of all the States, the CM pointed out that the first proviso under Section 23 (1) of the Dam Safety Bill specifies as to if the specified dam in one State is owned by another State, then the NDSA would act as the State Dam Safety Organisation for that particular dam.
This implied that the State owning the dams would have no rights over the safety and maintenance of the dam located in another State. Hence, the need for amendment, he argued.