Palaniswami urges PM to withdraw Dam Safety Bill, calls it unconstitutional
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K.Palaniswami on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw the Dam Safety Bill, 2018 introduced in the Lok Sabha as it impinges on the state's rights and termed it as unconstitutional.
In a letter to Modi, the text of which was released to the media here, Palaniswami said that serious concerns of Tamil Nadu on the Dam Safety Bill have not been addressed by the Central government.
Palaniswami said the Bill has been introduced in the Lok Saha without considering the views/comments of all the state governments.
"The Resolution, passed by the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly on 26.6.2018, expressing the concerns of the people of Tamil Nadu, on the proposed Dam Safety Bill, was also sent to the Government of India for immediate action," Palaniswami said.
He said the major concern of Tamil Nadu is the vesting of rights over the safety and maintenance of dams located in one state but owned by another state with the National Dam Safety Authority.
"This implies that the dam owning State would have no rights over the safety and maintenance of the dam located in another State," Palaniswami said.
"Tamil Nadu's Mullai Periyar, Parambikulam, Thunakkadavu and Peruvaripallam dams are owned, operated and maintained by the Government of Tamil Nadu by virtue of Inter State Agreements, but are located in a neighbouring State," he said.
"Further, the Constitution Bench of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India upheld the rights of Tamil Nadu on Mullai Periyar Dam in the judgment and decree dated 7.5.2014," he added.
"Therefore, to deny Tamil Nadu the right to be the Dam Safety Authority with regard to these four dams and vesting powers in the National Dam Safety Authority would tantamount to encroaching on the rights of Tamil Nadu which is unconstitutional," the letter notes.
According to Palaniswami, the clause in the Dam Safety Bill has to be amended to ensure that the Dam Safety Organisation of a state should have jurisdiction over the dams owned, controlled and operated and maintained by it even though they are located in another state.