The floods that caused widespread destruction in Bihar last year exposed the hollowness of the state government's claim that they were prepared to tackle the problem. From July to September, floods wreaked havoc in many areas of Bihar, killing many people and damaging property worth thousands of rupees. This year, too, a similar disaster threatens the people of Bihar.
In August last year, the state water resources department ( wrd) said Bihar had a flood-prone area of 6.9 million hectares (mha), of which the department had taken control measures in 2.9 mha. The wrd said if floods inundated the remaining 3.9 mha, they were not responsible for it. The question is who is responsible for the remaining areas? Is the government asking the people to fend for themselves?
For the last 52 years, wrd has been saying the flood problem will be solved once the Barahkshetra dam -- an Indo-Nepal project -- is built on the river Kosi. And to think of it, it will take another 25 years to build the dam. Worse still, the dam is primarily meant for producing power, and has little to do with flood control. Now, since the government has washed its hands off this problem, the people are destined to face the annual floods on their own.
Furthermore, there was a time when the Barahkshetra dam was the only dam proposed in the Himalaya range of Nepal. Now, there are some 30 such dams. If all these dams are built, they will displace more than half-a-million people and submerge 20 per cent of the agricultural land.
To tackle this situation, the government must set up a department to look after flood management exclusively. The poor state of the drainage system, which is the main reason for floods, must be improved immediately. The wrd has about 14,000 engineers on its roll. They must be engaged in mapping areas that could be affected by breaches in the embankments and suggest appropriate solutions. The government must also ensure that an adequate supply of drinking water, food, fodder and medicine is provided to flood victims.
DINESH KUMAR MISHRA
Face to face
The Quran and the Bible talk about Judgement Day when the whole world will come to an end and human souls will be presented before God. We will be asked some questions by Him. He will then decide whether we should be sent to heaven or hell. Similarly, the Hindu scriptures talk about Yama, the God of death, who decides our fate depending on our deeds. We are living in times of widespread consumerism. We are polluting the air, soil and water. But have we ever given a thought about the world we will leave for the future generations? They will inherit a place where the soil will be devoid of nutrients, the lakes without water, besides barren lands and polluted air. When God asks us what we did for the environment, what answer will we give Him?
M R RAJAGOPALAN
Tamil Nadu ....
Our company, Vimarsh, deals with drainage and water supply systems for various residential, commercial and hotel projects. We regularly read your magazine and find many of your articles very interesting and adaptable. We wish to circulate the articles for the knowledge of our clients so that at least a few of them understand the necessity of saving and recharging water.
ARVIND I PATEL
Murder most foul
The article on foreign diesel cars that are entering the Indian car market ( Down To Earth, Vol 8, No 4; July 15) made excellent reading. It is sad that such companies, which claim to work for consumer safety and comfort around the world, bring their dangerous technologies to developing nations. Here, they are helped by lax laws and these companies get away with 'slow murder'. I hope that your article will help reverse the trend of dieselisation and force these companies to rethink their policies and withdraw diesel vehicles. Are the lives of the people in developing nations unimportant?
Received on email....
In the article 'Enter the Green Rating Project', ( Down To Earth, Vol 8, No 5; July 31) the caption for the photograph on page 42 was wrongly attributed to Orient Paper Mill, Madhya Pradesh, instead of Grasim Industries Ltd, Kerala. The error is regretted....
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