Oppn terms Water Act amendment bill draconian; asks govt to refer it to standing committee

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 08-02-2024 20:21 IST | Created: 08-02-2024 20:21 IST
Oppn terms Water Act amendment bill draconian; asks govt to refer it to standing committee
  • Country:
  • India

Opposition parties, including the DMK and the RSP, strongly opposed in the Lok Sabha a Bill amending the Water Act, saying it is ''draconian'' and takes away the powers of states.

They also asked the government to refer the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Amendment Bill, 2024, to the standing committee for scrutiny.

Participating in the debate on the Bill, DMK's DM Kathir Anand said that this is a ''draconian'' Bill and it will impact the autonomy of states.

The Vellore MP alleged that the Centre has brought similar laws such as on the national education policy and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act to take away all the powers of states.

Recall the Bill and make amendment in such a way that state authority is not questioned, Anand said.

The Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha on February 6. It seeks to decriminalise minor offences related to water pollution, enabling the Centre to prescribe service conditions of chairpersons of state pollution control boards and exempt certain categories of industrial plants from statutory restrictions.

Sharing similar views, RSP's N K Premachandran said he ''strongly and vehemently'' opposes this Bill. ''It is a draconian Bill...what is the intent of this Bill?,'' he said, adding that it violates the principles of federalism.

The government, he said, is trying to do ease of doing business for the industry at the cost of environment and labour.

This Bill will dilute environmental laws and ''I oppose this bill'', he said. Premachandran demanded that it be sent to the standing committee for scrutiny.

TMC's Pratima Mondal opposed the Bill describing it as ''draconian''. Untreated water is continuously being discharged in rivers like Ganga, she said.

''Penalty limit (in the Bill) is not enough to deter pollution, she said, adding that a provision for imprisonment is required in extreme cases.

Supriya Sule from the NCP-Shard Pawar faction said that the Bill is a ''toothless tiger''. ''The entire Bill is taking away the powers of states and it is very alarming,'' she said and added that it is anti-federal.

However, Shiv Sena's SA Barne, Sunil Kumar of the JD(U), Anubhav Mohanty of the BJD and R S Verma of the BSP supported the Bill. The Bill seeks to amend the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.

According to the statement of objects and reasons of the Bill, the amendment proposes to rationalise criminal provisions and ensure that citizens, businesses and companies operate without fear of imprisonment for minor, technical or procedural defaults.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Give Feedback