The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Funds reduced in flood control plan

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 19: The budgetary allocation under state plan for flood control measures is dwindling although the coastal state is hit by flood every monsoon.

According to sources, the state plan outlay for flood control was Rs 4.65 crore during 2006-07, which has come down to Rs 2.4 crore during the current fiscal.

Taking note of it, the standing committee of the water resources department has recently recommended for enhancing the provision from Rs 2.4 crore to at least Rs 10 crore in the supplementary budget for the current year, said committee chairman Kalpataru Das.

Das further noted that there had been a measly provision of Rs 8.02 crore in this fiscal for maintenance of 6,515km of embankment. There should be a provision of Rs 50,000 per km for maintenance of each flood protection embankment per year, according to the recommendation of the Task Force on Flood constituted under 9th plan. Thus, the total funds requirement for maintenance of 6,515km comes to around Rs 32.5 crore.

The standing committee has recommended for the additional provision of Rs 10.54 crore in the supplementary budget deducting the provision of Rs 8.02 crore for maintenance of 6,515km embankment and another Rs 14 crore for maintenance of critical flood control works.

Not only there is a measly budgetary provision under state plan for flood control, the flow of central funds is also very disappointing. A special additional central assistance to the tune of Rs 2.4 crore was provided during 2006-07 for bank protection work on river embankment, while no provision was made this year.

State water resources secretary Aurobindo Behera said the state government had submitted a proposal to the Centre this year for providing assistance to the tune of Rs 370 crore for flood control and upgrading the drainage system. But no response had been received from the Centre yet, he said.

Vast areas of the state are affected by floods, which wreak havoc almost every alternative year. The flood-prone area of the state has been assessed to be 33.40 lakh hectares out of arable land of 65,000 hectares, which constitutes 21.45 per cent of the state’s total geographical area.

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