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Govt does nothing to prevent Surat floods: Experts
August 26, 2006 12:01 IST
Surat has been badly flooded thrice after Independence, as state authorities have repeatedly failed to evolve a mechanism that will bring a permanent solution to the flooding of river Tapti.
In 1968, most parts of the city were flooded, in 1998, 30 percent had gone under water and this year more than 95 percent of the city was under Tapti waters.
Each time, the damage to lives, property and business has been heavier.
The opposition Congress has alleged that the Surat floods this year was a man-made disaster and could have been averted had the state irrigation department officials not committed 'criminal negligence'.
In reply to oppostion allegations, the state government has formed a two-member inquiry commission to probe the exact cause of floods.
"After the 1998 floods, which had ravaged Surat, experts had discussed the problem throughly and presented many solutions. However, the government has not implemented a single solution so far," Satyakam Joshi of city-based Center of Social Studies said.
"The issues like precise monitoring of the level of Ukai dam and timely release of water from the dam during monsoon, de-silting of river bed to increase the carrying capacity of river, issue of removal of encroachment on the riverbed were left high and dry, which has resulted in flooding of Surat city this year," Joshi added.
I M Desai, an expert on Ukai dam who has studied the dam and flooding in Tapti for over 20 years, said it is not impossible to manage the waters in Tapti in a way that it would not flood Surat and proper monitoring and management could save the city from such a disaster.
Speaking about a long-term solution to avert reccurence of floods in the river Tapti, Desai suggested monitoring from the time of development of weather system, which can cause heavy rains in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh via satellite pictures.
He has also suggested that an inter-state cooperation cell should be formed to exchange exact figures of rains in those states and amount of water rleased from dams and proper management of water from Ukai dam to avert future floods.
Surat mayor Kanu Mavani said they will press for computerised monitoring of water level of Ukai dam and conduct de-silting of river bed and build embankments on both sides of river for stopping floods.
Former textile minister and Surat MP Kanshiram Rana suggests that national river linking project will be very helpful for checking floods in river Tapti. There is a proposal of linking Tapti to Narmada, which is under consideration, he added.