Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar inaugurated the International Dam Safety Conference in Jaipur, Rajasthan on 14 September 2023. The two-day (14-15 September 2023) conference started with the traditional 'Jal Kalash' ceremony.
The Jaipur conference was organized on the theme “Safe & Secure Dams Ensure Nation’s Prosperity”.
- Apart from this, Vice President Dhankhar flagged off the vinyl coated Kamakhya Express from Varanasi station through video conferencing.
New initiatives of the government for water conservation:
- Under the 'Pani Ki Rail' initiative of National Water Mission, two trains, Himsagar Express and Kamakhya Express have been covered with vinyl in collaboration with the Ministry of Railways to spread the message of importance of water conservation, river rejuvenation, drinking water and sanitation.
- As these trains travel across the country, they will act as a moving billboard spreading the important message of water conservation and management.
Participation of 40 international delegates from 15 countries:
- More than 800 representatives of central and state governments, academicians, World Bank officials, representatives from other countries, public and private sectors and other dam owners are participating in the conference.
- About 40 international delegates from 15 countries are also participating in the event.
National register for big dams unveiled:
- The Vice President also unveiled a National Register of Large Dams, which is a compilation of large dams in the country prepared in consultation with the concerned State Government/Authority.
- Addressing the inaugural session, the Vice President highlighted the importance of dams, calling them the "silent sentinels" that "ensure our access to the lifeblood of our planet."
- Highlighting India's inherent connection with water management, the Vice President said that Indian civilization has flourished along the banks of rivers for thousands of years, and has derived its life and livelihood from the waters of those rivers.
Dams are also mentioned in the ancient texts of India:
- Dhankhar also said that ancient texts including the Vedas and Arthashastra mention systematic management of water resources through construction of dams and reservoirs to deal with water scarcity.
Dam Safety Act (DSA) 2021:
- Vice President Dhankhar lauded the enactment of the Dam Safety Act (DSA) 2021, which reinforces India's commitment to the safety of its dams.
- Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat highlighted the diverse benefits of dams and how dams have been instrumental in water management, power generation and flood control in India.
- Speaking on the importance of dam safety, Shekhawat spoke about the Dam Safety Act brought in 2021 under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure key regulatory institutional framework and unified protocols by all dam owners.
More than 80 percent of the country's dams are 25 years old:
- According to the Union Jal Shakti Ministry, there are around 280 dams in India which are around 100 years old. More than 80 percent of these dams are 25 years old.
- The conference will serve as a platform to deliberate and share knowledge on dam safety measures among various stakeholders.
- The Union Minister also inaugurated the National Center for Earthquake Safety of Dams at MNIT Jaipur on 14 September 2023. This center will work to enhance the structural and seismic safety of dams in India.
Center of Excellence at IIT Roorkee and IISc Bengaluru:
- The Union Minister talked about setting up a Center of Excellence at IIT Roorkee and IISc Bengaluru and starting M-Tech courses for capacity building of stakeholders related to dam safety.