Nitish sets flood-readiness deadline

Chief minister Nitish Kumar (left) at the meeting on flood preparations at 1 Aney Marg on Wednesday. Picture by Manoj Kumar

Patna: Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday held a massive review meeting on pre-flood preparations in the wake of the latest prediction by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) that Bihar could witness around 93 per cent of the estimated average rainfall of 1,027.6mm this year.

He directed the officials to complete all preparations by June 30.

"The IMD has forecast possibilities of good rainfall. I pray that their estimate comes out to be correct and people get relief. All secretaries and principal secretaries concerned should visit the districts they are in-charge of after a week to assess and review flood preparations to ensure that everything is complete by June 30," Nitish said.

He also directed the finance department to transfer money to the district magistrates' disaster relief funds so that flood victims could be provided relief within 24 hours of being affected by deluge.

The three-hour meeting chaired by the chief minister at his 1 Aney Marg official residence was attended by several ministers and senior officials, while district officials were connected to the meeting via video-conferencing.

Disaster management department (DMD) principal secretary Pratyaya Amrit made a PowerPoint presentation on flood preparations before the chief minister, which included resources map, availability of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), divers, boats, flood shelters, district disaster control rooms, finalising the rate of foodgrains for distribution among the flood-affected people, food packaging work and several other things.

On the other hand water resources department officials presented details on flood management work, including repair and protection of embankments along the rivers. The health department informed about availability of medicines and health camps, while the animal husbandry department threw light on availability of fodder, medicines as well as relief camps for cattle.

Nitish directed the officials to be ready to tackle floods as well as a possible drought in case the monsoon turns out to be weak. "While preparing to tackle floods, we must also remain ready to face drought in case such a situation develops here. We must ensure that the crop relief scheme benefits and diesel subsidy reaches everybody and water reaches the end point of canals. Adequate supply of electricity should be ensured and repair and installation of hand pumps should be done on priority," Nitish added.

He told the officials that this time the price of diesel is high and the government will increase the diesel subsidy rate so that farmers do not face any problem in this regard. He also directed the public health engineering department to ensure the availability of hand pumps and check whether they work or not.

Nitish reminded the officials that districts along the Ganga were affected by floods in 2016 and said they should be cautious about the Patna Town Protection Wall constructed from Golghar to Danapur in the 1970s to protect Patna against floods.


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