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Govt moots master plan to tackle city floods

Shillong: The State Government is contemplating to prepare a master plan to tackle the annual flood problems faced by localities in the proximity of Wahumkhrah river, especially during the monsoon.

“This problem cannot be addressed in bits and pieces. We need to prepare a master plan in order to tackle this problem which has brought about a lot of hardships to people who are residing close to the Wahumkhrah,” Water Resources Minister AL Hek said following meeting with Dorbar Shnongs of various localities situated in and around Wahumkhrah river, in the presence of senior government officials here on Thursday.

Reiterating that the problem should be addressed by a single department, Hek said, “In the past various departments have chipped in to provide relief to the victims at the time of the flood. But such a system would be able to provide only temporary relief to the victim.”

The Minister was of the opinion that the flood problem should be assigned to the Water Resources department, which in turn would utilize the services of the PWD in preparation of the master plan.

Replying to a query, Hek said the preparation of the master plan would commence once the survey of the area is completed.

According to Hek, Union Minister of State of Water Resources Vincent H Pala has assured of providing funds to address the flood problem caused by the Wahumkhrah river under the flood management programme.

“He (Pala) had informed us that there is no dearth of funds in his ministry. We only have to prepare DPRs as per the guidelines of the Union Ministry,” Hek said, adding, his department can initially prepare the DPRs of constructing the check dams as suggested by the various representatives of the local Dorbar Shnongs who attended the meeting.

Hek, however, dismissed concerns echoed by representatives of the Dorbar Shnongs on encroachment along the river banks being the main cause for the flood in the area. He said encroachment was not his concern as the problem has to be tackled by other departments.

‘Our main concern is to address the flood problem so that people residing along the Wahumkhrah river do not suffer,” the Water Resources Minister said.

‘Inadequate fund to tackle flood’

Meanwhile, PS Lyngdoh, Chief Engineer, Water Resources department has stated that the State Government would require a fund to the tune of Rs 3000-4000 crore to address the flood problem in the State.

“The State Government presently does not have the requisite fund to address the flood problem in the right perspective. There is a sum of Rs 680 crore at the disposal of the PWD to tackle the flood problem, which is a huge disparity between what is available and what is required,” Lyngdoh said on Thursday.

Lyngdoh pointed out that the areas commonly hit by floods in the State are Jaintia Hills, West Khasi Hills and Garo Hills.

“The flash floods which occur in the State are more dangerous than the floods which occur in the plain belts in other parts of the country,” he said, while adding that the damages done by the flash flood is more destructive.

Replying to a query, he said that since the department is only a year old it is suffering from huge manpower problem.

“The Minor Irrigation department under the Agriculture department was transformed into a full-fledged Water Resources department in 2010,” Lyngdoh said.

“Primarily, the main of job of this department is to take up flood protection and flood management works for arable lands. Floods which occur in human habitation and roads are still being handled by the PWD,” Lyngdoh said.

The Chief Engineer also informed that the State Government would soon come up with the State Water Policy in line with the National Water Policy.

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