5264 large dams completed and 437 large dams under construction in India

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Central Water Commission (CWC) maintains the National Register of Large Dams (NRLD) based on information received from the State Governments. As per NRLD, there are 5264 large dams completed and 437 large dams under construction in India. Number of dam failures reported in India is 36. The State wise details of completed large dams, under construction large dams and dam failures reported is at Annexure.

Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR,RD&GR) has drafted Dam Safety Bill, 2018. The Cabinet has approved the proposal for introduction of Dam Safety Bill, 2018 in the Parliament in its meeting dated 13.06.2018.

The Dam Safety Bill, 2018 aims to provide robust legal and institutional framework under Central & State Governments for safety of dams. The Bill envisages prevention and mitigation of dam failure related disasters through proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all dams in the country.

The Bill provides for constitution of a ‘National Committee on Dam Safety (NCDS)’ to evolve dam safety policies and recommend necessary regulations. NCDS is proposed to be chaired by Chairman, CWC. The Bill provides for establishment of ‘National Dam Safety Authority’ (NDSA) as a regulatory body to implement the policy, guidelines and standards for dam safety in the country.

The Bill also provides for constitution of ‘State Committee on Dam Safety’ by the State Governments to ensure proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in the State and to ensure their safe functioning.

As per Dam Safety Bill 2018, every State has to establish a State Dam Safety Organisation, manned by officers from the field of dam safety preferably from the areas of dam-designs, hydro-mechanical engineering, hydrology, geo-technical investigation, instrumentation and dam-rehabilitation.

The NDSA is mandated in the Bill to:

  1. maintain liaison with the State Dam Safety Organisations and the owners of dams for standardisation of dam safety related data and practices;
  2. provide the technical and managerial assistance to the States and State Dam Safety Organisations;
  3. maintain a national level data-base of all dams in the country and the records of major dam failures;
  4. examine the cause of any major dam failure;
  5. publish and update the standard guidelines and check-lists for the routine inspection and detailed investigations of dams and appurtenances;
  6. accord recognition or accreditations to the organisations that can be entrusted with the works of investigation, design or construction of new dams; and
  7. resolve issue between the State Dam Safety Organisation of states, or between the State Dam Safety Organisation and the owner of a dam in that State.

In certain cases, such as where a dam is extended over two or more States or dams of one State falling under the territory of another State, the National Authority has to perform the role of State Dam Safety Organization thereby eliminating potential causes for inter-state conflicts.

At drafting stage, the Bill was circulated to all States/UTs for consultation on 09.08.2016. Most of the States supported the proposed Bill. State of Kerala and Tamil Nadu raised objections that water being State subject, there is need to review the need of the Bill.

Kerala stated that their State already has statutory provisions in place for maintenance of Dams. Tamil Nadu raised concerns regarding ownership of dams and reservoirs which are owned, operated and maintained by a State, but located in another State.

The proposed Bill was discussed threadbare along with the inputs received from various States/UTs in the meeting of 37th meeting of National Committee on Dam Safety (NCDS) held on 18.02.2017. As per the outcome of the meeting, the Dam Safety Bill, 2018 has been modified and finalized in consultation with Legislative Department to address apprehensions of the States.