New Delhi: After a slumber of a decade, the Union Government finally woke up on the issue of devastation caused by Ganga and its tributaries in various eastern and northern states including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal during the monsoon season.

The Centre after a hiatus of 10 years held a meeting with Ganga Flood Control Board authorities and discussed the issues related to floods and the measure to save people.  

In the meeting, the state authorities gave an elaborate presentation on the problems faced by people during floods and pointed out the hurdles created by the Centre in their efforts to provide respite to the affected people. The representatives from various states also raised the demand to declare water as a national property.

Union Water Resources Minister Salman Khurshid, who welcomed this suggestion, lamented over the delay made by the Centre in releasing funds for flood control in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, but he promised immediate steps in this regard.

In the meeting which took place after a decade, the minister said, “The states are having an effective law which has never been used and it has been a major cause for the floods.”

“During monsoon the river course swells to adjoining areas called flood plain, which people should not be encroach. But with heavy encroachment in flood plain areas in most of the states, the extent of damage increases during floods,” he added.

Expressing concern over the excess water released from Nepal towards Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, he said, “It is a serious international problem for which the Nepal government has to be consulted.”

He urged the state governments of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal to take all possible measures for flood control and assured them of the required assistance from the Centre.

Representatives from Rajasthan, Haryana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Delhi participated in the meet.

JPN/Bureau