Consult states, evolve consensus on Dam Safety Bill: Palaniswami

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Chennai, June 15 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to keep the Dam Safety Bill, 2018 in abeyance till a consensus is evolved after consulting all the states.

The contention is that the Bill in its present form encroaches upon the powers of the states.

In a letter to Modi, the text of which was released to the media, Palaniswami, referring to media reports about the Union Cabinet giving its approval to the draft Dam Safety Bill, 2018, said: “I consider it appropriate that consensus of all the states be obtained before bringing forward such a legislation on Dam Safety.”

“In these circumstances, I request you to kindly keep in abeyance the decision arrived at by the Central government to legislate an act on Dam Safety till such time all the states are consulted and consensus is evolved,” he added.

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Palaniswami said that in September 2016, late former Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa conveyed Tamil Nadu’s objections to certain clauses of the draft Dam Safety Bill, 2016, as it encroaches 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 states.

The Chief Minister said the Central government has not circulated any revised draft after 2016 and it is presumed that the Bill in its original form has been approved by the Union Cabinet on June 13.

“This Bill would have wide ramifications on the dams operated and maintained by the state government, especially those dams which are owned, operated and maintained by the Tamil Nadu government but are located in the neighbouring state,” Palaniswami said.

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–IANS

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