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The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources in its report has suggested several measures that it can take to manage floods.
What are the measures suggested in the report?
Strengthen embankments along the rivers: Most flood protection structures in Assam are over 50-60 years old. These were constructed on the main stem of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries way back in the 1960s and 1970s and have become weak now.
Dredging of Rivers: Dredging is the removal of sediments and debris from the bottom of lakes, rivers, harbours, and other water bodies. It is a routine necessity in waterways around the world because sedimentation—the natural process of sand and silt washing downstream—gradually fills channels and harbors.
Set up modern weather stations in the upstream catchment of all dams in the North East and install sirens on river banks near dams. This would alert downstream populations in the event of floods.
Measures such as Afforestation and rejuvenation of wetlands should be taken to mitigate floods.
Inclusion of river erosion in an admissible list of calamities: Government should consider the inclusion of river erosion in the admissible list of calamities for availing assistance under the National Disaster Response Fund / State Disaster Response Fund.
Fill Vacant Posts: Brahmaputra Board which has been functional since 1982 does not have enough manpower. It had asked the board to fill up all vacant posts on a priority basis.
Other Measures suggested by the report
Enact Flood Zoning Bill: Major flood-prone states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Odisha etc had not taken the initiative to enact the flood plain zoning bill. The bill envisages the zoning of the flood plain of a river according to flood frequencies and defines the type of use of flood plains.
Set up River Basin Organizations: The report strongly recommended the setting up of River Basin Organizations or RBOs. These would effectively provide immediate, short-term and long-term solutions in addition to the overall development of the river basin.
Source: The post is based on the article “Here is what Assam can do to prevent floods” published in DTE on 22nd June 2022.