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    Dams Have to Prepare Emergency Action Plans, Minister Tells Rajya Sabha

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    Dams Have to Prepare Emergency Action Plans, Minister Tells Rajya Sabha

    The minister pointed out that the union government has constituted the national committee on dam safety to discharge functions to prevent dam failure related disasters and maintain standards of dam safety and evolve dam safety policies and recommend necessary regulations.

    India has 5334 completed and operational large dams while 411 large dams are under construction, Bishweswar Tudu, minister of state of the ministry of jal shakti said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha on Monday.

    With 2117 dams, Maharashtra has the most dams in the country, with 2117 operational dams. Madhya Pradesh follows with 899 dams. With 277 dams under construction, Maharashtra accounts for over half of all dams under construction throughout the country.

    The minister said that the dam safety act 2021 enacted by the union government provides a comprehensive framework for proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all the large dams of the country for ensuring their safe functioning and to avoid dam failure related disasters.

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    The minister also said that the act provides for empowered institutional framework for dam safety both at the level of centre and states and will also help in standardizing and improving uniform dam safety practices across the country. A national register of large dams has been compiled by the central water commission based on the information provided by the project authorities (as of 2019).

    Responsibility for safety of dams, including its operation and maintenance rests primarily with dam owners, mostly state governments and public sector units of both, state governments and the union government, the minister said.

    Bishweswar Tudu also pointed out that the dam safety act 2021 also emphasizes the necessity of operation and maintenance manual for every specified dam. As per the dam safety act 2021, every owner of the specified dam is required to ensure that a well-documented operation and maintenance manual is kept at each of the specified dam and are followed at all times.

    “During extreme weather events, especially during the monsoon season, dams are to be operated as per the rule curve and the operation and maintenance manual,” he said in his reply to a question. “All the dam owners are required to have [an] O&M manual containing standard operating procedures for their dams/reservoirs in place before commissioning of the dam.”

    Every dam owner also has to prepare an emergency action plan for each of their specified dam to deal with any emergency conditions arising at the dams.

    The dam safety act 2021 has provisions for setting up empowered institutional framework for dam safety both at the union and the state level, the minister told in his reply in Parliament and pointed out that the union government has constituted the national committee on dam safety to discharge functions to prevent dam failure related disasters and maintain standards of dam safety and evolve dam safety policies and recommend necessary regulations.

    Further as per the provisions of the 2021 dam safety act, state governments are mandated to constitute the state committee on dam safety to ensure proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in the state and ensure their safe functioning, the minister said.

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