Flood monitoring panel has met just 4 times in 3 years
As floodwaters begin to recede in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, an empowered committee will meet soon to work out the volume of Central assistance, reports Aurangzeb Naqshbandi.delhi Updated: Oct 09, 2009 00:09 IST
As floodwaters begin to recede in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, an empowered committee will meet soon to work out the volume of Central assistance.
The committee, formed by the Union Water Resources Ministry in 2007 to help flood-prone states to take up flood control and river management works, has so far met only four times. The last meeting was held on July 10.
“Though flood management is a state subject, the Centre has always been ready to help,” a ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
In 2007, the government also initiated a Rs 8,000-crore (Rs 80 billion) flood management programme (FMP) under the state sector in the Eleventh Five-year Plan period (2007-2012).
Under the programme, 281 flood control and river management schemes worth Rs 2,425 crore (Rs 24.25 billion) in 16 states had been approved for Central assistance.
But the ministry blamed the state governments for poor implementation of these schemes. The official said, “The states have been found lagging in carrying out the flood management programme.”
The Central Water Commission, an apex body for water resources development, compiled the flood damage figures from 1953 to 2004. It estimated the average loss to life at 1,590 with a Rs 806.78-crore (Rs 8.08 billion) damage to public utilities.
A working group on the flood control programme, set up by the Planning Commission for the Tenth Five-year Plan (2002-2007) estimated that a total of 45.64 million hectare area in the country was flood-prone.
Of this, 18.22 million hectare had been given reasonable protection by the end of the Plan period.
The official said both structural and non-structural schemes were taken up while managing the flood problem. The structural measures include construction of reservoirs, marginal embankment, raised platforms, channel improvement and raising of villages, while non-structural measures include flood plain zoning, flood forecasting and warning systems.
PM to survey flood-hit states
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will undertake an aerial survey of flood-hit Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka from Friday. Singh will arrive at Vijayawada on Friday. Ahead of the visit, Karnataka has demanded an interim relief of Rs 10,000 crore from the Centre for restoration of damaged infrastructure.
‘Declare floods as national calamity’
Andhra Pradesh BJP unit has requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to declare the floods as a “national calamity”. “We want you (PM) to declare AP floods as a national calamity and to release Rs 10,000 crore for rescue and rehabilitation work,” state BJP president Bandaru Dattatraya said in a letter to the PM.