Though Punjab has witnessed numerous floods in the past few years,the state government has failed to release 20 percent of the required amount for the drainage department so that it can carry out flood protection and cleanliness of the drains work before monsoon season.
Sources in the drainage department revealed that a demand of Rs 250 crore was made to carry out the works but the state had released only Rs 49 crore.
Punjab has over 1,500 kilometers of drains which require regular maintenance. There are also numerous flood sites which also need regular repair and strengthening,The amount released is not even enough to clean the drains, said a senior officer of the department.
Punjab witnessed severe floods in Doaba region in 2008 inundating villages and 1000s of acres of agricultural land. In 2010 and 2011 severe floods were witnessed in Malwa and Doaba which claimed many human lives. Blocked drains and non-strengthening of the bundhs close to rivers were the major reasons for the floods.
The state is willing to pay compensation to victims after the fact but is unwilling to take preventive measures,said another senior officer of the drainage department.
According to the sources of the drainage department the deadline for protective measures and cleaning and repairing works is July 15 while Malwa region will be covered by June 30. But work has hardly started in many parts of the state,said sources.
Vinod Chaudhary Chief Engineer Drainage was not available for comments while Executive Engineer (XEN) of the department Naresh Goel said that Rs 49 crore had been released by the government and work is on.