Bihar CM directs officials to complete all flood protection works by June 15
Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday directed the officials of four key departments to complete the flood protection work and strengthen the communication network by June 15.
The CM issued instructions to the officials of water resources, minor irrigation, road construction and rural works department to carry out anti-erosion and flood protection works, as suggested by the members of the state legislature and parliament in their respective area, before the outbreak of monsoon.
As the state is still under lockdown phase, the CM held the meeting with ministers and officials of various departments through video conferencing and said that the scheme to heighten the embankments and fortify them with proper quality should be finished within the set deadline. “Small bridges and culverts, which serve as a passage to the floodwater, must be cleared to minimise the risk of washing away of roads,” the CM said.
WRD minister Sanjay Kumar Jha, who briefed the CM about the state of preparedness of different departments, said that majority of anti-erosion schemes have been completed and residual work would be done by the first week of June. “All embankments are being monitored for minimal damages during the cyclonic rains and unprecedented release of water in rivers from Nepal,” said the minister, adding that the flood protection work got slightly delayed owing to lockdown and spread of Corona pandemic.
The CM also asked road construction department (RCD) minister Nitin Navin to ensure repair of all roads, bridges and culverts within the deadline, so that road communication remained smooth during the rains.
Jha said that it was for the first time that the department was carrying out anti-erosion work and strengthening embankment following the suggestions from elected leaders cutting across the party lines. WRD Secretary Sanjeev Hans, while making presentations about the department’s activities, informed that opinions of MPs, MLAs and MLCs were sought during the division-level review meeting held between May 13 and 21.
However, the opposition parties questioned the departments’ claim of having sought the views of elected leaders regarding the anti-erosion work and said that they were not consulted by any department in this regard. RJD leader and Maner MLA Bhai Birendra and MLC Ram Chandra Purbe categorically said that they were not consulted.
Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) chief and MLC Madan Mohan Jha and Congress legislature party leader Ajit Sharma also countered the government’s claim. Sharma said that the government’s scheme runs on paper only. “Officials might have misled the CM and ministers regarding the opposition parties’ consultation on flood preparations,” said Sharma.
Deputy CMs Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi, minor irrigation minister Santosh Kumar Suman, rural works minister Jayant Raj, chief secretary Tripurari Sharan, development commissioner Amir Subhani, additional chief secretaries Amrit Lal Meena and Pratyay Amrit, principal secretary to CM Deepak Kumar, also joined the video conferencing from their respective places.