Parliament passes Indian Boilers (Amendment) Bill

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New Delhi, Nov 30 (UNI) Parliament today passed a legislation to amend the 84-year-old Indian Boilers Act incorporating changes in tune with the significant technologcal developments, including manufacture of boilers up to the capacity of 500 MW within the country, and the expansion of economy.

The Indian Boilers (Amendment) bill, 2007, was today passed by the Lok Sabha. It was cleared by the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

Winding up the debate on the Bill, Minister of State for Commerce and Industries Ashwin Kumar assured the House that the government would streamline the boilers industry in the country without curtailing the authority of state governments in the matter.

The Bill provides for appointment of technical advisers and registration of competent authorities to carry out inspection of boilers during their manufacuture and also use. The 1923 act provides for inspection only during use. The manufacture of boilers is now included for inspection in the light of the country manufacturing large boilers with capacity up to 500 MW.

The Bill seeks to set up a Central Boilers Board, which would be the apex body for the formulation of rules and guidelines for regulation of manufacture and use of boilers.

Mr Kumar said the Board would have representation from each and every state government, besides technical experts, and any decision by the Board would be taken only by evolving a consensus.

''Consequently, any misgiving about the dilution of authorities of state governments is misplaced,'' he said.

It provides for a third party inspection by organisations or individuals who have expertise in the field to complement the inspection by the Inspectorate of Boilers of the States in respective territories.

With regard to the provision allowing inspection of boilers by private parties, he said it had become imperative in view of advancement in technology.

Mr Kumar defended the punitive aspects of the Bill -- jail terms for two years and hiking the penalty amount from Rs 1000 to Rs one lakh -- saying these were required to take care of any mischief by the defaulters.

The Minister said the existing Act of 1923 brought in by the British to provide safety of life and property of the persons from the dangers of explosion of boilers during the use had become outdated.

The administration of the Act was carried by Inspectorate of Boilers of the States in their respective territories, he noted.

He said the Government had set up a high-powered committee in 1972 for a comprehensive review of laws on boilers and unfired pressure vessels. The Committee had concluded that the states did not have adequate machinery or manpower and technical expertise. The interpretation of the Indian Boilers Regulations and standards of inspection was also not uniform.

Mr Kumar said the need for amending the Act assumed importance because India had a galloping industrial base and the development which was taking place at 12.3 per cent, the highest in the independent India, could not be retarded by an obsolete law.

Messrs Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD), Haribhau Rathore (BJP), K S Rao, (Congress), Ms C S Sujatha (CPI-M), Mr K Francis George (Kerala Congress-Joseph), Mr T K Hamza (CPI-M), Mr Suravraram Sudhakar Reddy (CPI), Mr Shailendra Kumar (SP) and Mr Mohan Singh (SP) participated in the debate.


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