Shah Wants 50 Big Ponds in NE to Divert Flood Water

The recurring flooding of the Brahmaputra poses a significant challenge for Assam and the northeastern region

Update: 2024-06-23 18:44 GMT
Union Home Minister Amit Shah chairs a high-level meeting to review flood preparedness in the country, in New Delhi, Sunday, June 23, 2024. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced on Sunday a proposal to create at least 50 large ponds in the northeastern region to divert water from the Brahmaputra River. This is to tackle recurring floods and promote agriculture, irrigation, and tourism in the area.

During a high-level review meeting on flood management preparedness for the monsoon season, Shah spoke about the need to adopt new technologies by all relevant agencies and the expansion of their flood management networks. He stressed the optimum use of satellite imagery provided by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for flood and water management. Additionally, he reviewed preparations to address Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs).

During the meeting, Shah reviewed long-term measures for a comprehensive policy to mitigate the menace of floods across the country. He also assessed the action taken on decisions made during last year's meeting, with presentations from the IMD, CWC, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

Shah appealed to all states and Union Territories to implement NDMA advisories for flood management promptly. He stressed the necessity of precautionary measures to prevent forest fires, including the regular removal of dry leaves, conducting mock drills with local residents and forest personnel, and analysing repeated incidents of forest fires.

The home minister also directed the IMD to ensure timely dissemination of alerts regarding lightning strikes through SMS, TV, FM radio, and other media. Emphasising community coordination, he called for the integration of community awareness programmes run by various agencies to maximise their impact.

Shah highlighted the need to upgrade the water level forecast system of rivers for better flood management. The recurring flooding of the Brahmaputra poses a significant challenge for Assam and the northeastern region, causing numerous casualties and inundating vast tracts of land each year. Shah directed the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and the Central Water Commission (CWC) to expedite the recalibration of all flood forecast equipment. He also instructed the concerned departments to conduct detailed studies of recent floods in Sikkim and Manipur and submit their findings to the Union Home Ministry.

Further, Shah stressed on the need to ensure that floodgates of major dams are in good condition and that CWC flood monitoring centers meet India's requirements and international standards. He noted the severe impact of flash floods caused by glacial lake outbursts in Sikkim and Uttarakhand, which have resulted in numerous fatalities and significant damage in recent years.

Shah also stressed the integration of natural drainage systems in road construction designs to prevent inundation during floods. He also underscored the importance of integrating weather, rainfall, and flood warning apps developed by various departments.

The meeting was attended by Union jal shakti minister C.R. Paatil, minister of state for home Nityanand Rai, and top officials. They provided updates on the preparations for the current monsoon season and future action plans, addressing the frequent flooding in Bihar, Assam, and other eastern states, as well as the landslides and rain-related issues in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Jammu and Kashmir.

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