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History repeats itself... yet again!
Even after 62 years of Independence, floods still defeat us, easily so...

Last year, it was the breaching of the Kosi embankment near the Indo-Nepal border that flooded Bihar and displaced over 2.3 million people in the northern part of the state. ‘History (at least in this part of the country) unfortunately repeats itself’ too many times.

This year, the flood reports in Bihar have been worse, as they washed away 1,200-1,600 villages across the country and affected more than 2,00,000 people. The frequency and damage caused by floods have grown in the recent past. This is primarily because of the increased encroachment of flood plains. In most parts of the state, water had accumulated due to heavy spells of rainfall – especially in those areas having a poor drainage system – consequently causing floods. According to the report of the National Disaster Management Division, the damages caused to crops, livestock and property due to floods across the country in 2008 aggregated to Rs.18.8 billion!

This tale is not confined to Bihar, but is as relevant in many eastern states including Orissa and West Bengal. Floods in Eastern India hamper grains and pulse production levels, which further lead to food shortage and price increase! It is common sense that in order to minimise flood damage, the basic approach should be to prevent floodwaters from reaching the vulnerable areas. Despite the US being against construction of dams (NY Times calls contemporary times “the age of dam removal”), it is imperative India adopts dam building measures. But also important is an extremely important factor – a proper regional drainage system. Where’s the money for all that? One could learn a lot from Gujarat. The Ahmedabad Water Supply and Sewerage Project was the first project in India to have a public issue...

By:- Sray Agarwal

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