DAM SAFETY ACT, 2021 (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Infrastructure)

News-CRUX-10     7th May 2024        
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Context: Recently, Tamil Nadu expressed dissatisfaction with the reconstituted Supervisory Committee's failure, despite its powers under the Dam Safety Act, 2021, to enforce dam strengthening and related works by Kerala.

Dam Safety Act, 2021

  • About: A National Committee on Dam Safety is established to oversee dam safety policies and regulations.
  • Implementation Authority: A National Dam Safety Authority is created for implementation and resolving dam safety disputes at the State level.
  • National Committee on Dam Safety (NCDS): Sets policies and recommends regulations.
  • National Leadership: The Chairman of the Central Water Commission (CWC) heads national dam safety protocols.
  • State-Level Bodies: Each state establishes a State Committee on Dam Safety (SCDS) and a State Dam Safety Organisation (SDSO). (Example: Sikkim with SCDS formed on August 17, 2021).
  • Dam Owners: These are accountable for safe construction, operation, maintenance, and supervision.

oMust establish a dam safety unit in each dam and conduct inspections before/after monsoon season, and after seismic events, floods, or distress signs.

  • Functions of Dam Owners: Prepare emergency action plans, conduct risk assessments at regular intervals, and undertake comprehensive dam safety evaluations with expert panels.
  • Offences and Penalties: Offenders obstructing or refusing to comply with directives may face imprisonment up to a year.

oLoss of Life: In cases involving loss of life, imprisonment for up to two years may be imposed.

Mullaperiyar Dam

  • About: It was constructed during 1887-1895 and owned, operated, and maintained by Tamil Nadu Government.
  • Location:  It is located in upper reaches of river Periyar, which flows into Kerala after originating in Tamil Nadu.
  • The dam is erected at an elevation of 53.66 meters and spans a length of 365.85 meters.
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