AIADMK MPs stall debate on Dam Safety Bill in Rajya Sabha

A file photo of the Mullaperiyar dam on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border at Kumily, near Idukki.  

The Dam Safety Bill 2021 was moved in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday but the debate could not be held because of disruptions from the Opposition parties. BJP’s ally AIADMK has decided to oppose the Bill whenever it comes up for debate.

This Bill was approved by the Lok Sabha in the Monsoon session. There was a view among the Opposition parties that this Bill must be sent to a select committee, because of its wider implication. The Government, however, is in no mood to concede to the demand. On Tuesday, the Government had deferred a debate on the Bill because of the Opposition walkout. The House was adjourned twice on Wednesday because of the protests and the Bill could not be taken up for debate.

AIADMK floor leader for Rajya Sabha A. Navaneethakrishnan said that the Bill will affect Tamil Nadu’s ownership over its dams located in other States. Former Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa too had conveyed her objections to certain aspects of the draft Bill. “We strongly oppose this Bill and it has to go.”

The point of contention are four dams — Mullaperiyar, Parambikulam, Thunakkadavu and Peruvaripallam — located in Kerala but owned, operated and maintained by the Tamil Nadu Government. The Bill provides for a National Committee on Dam Safety whose functions include evolving policies and recommending regulations regarding dam safety standards.

“The national dam safety authority will have the final word: this is a violation of the federal principles,” Mr. Navaneethakrishnan said.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 10:03:11 PM |

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