Under criticism for failing to apprehend the danger posed by the floods and the alleged delay in responding to the situation, the Maharashtra government on Friday appointed a 10-member expert committee to ascertain the exact cause of the floods that led to widespread damage in Kolhapur, Satara and Sangli districts earlier this month.
In a government resolution (GR), the state said that excess rain in the Krishna river basin in July and August had led to severe flood situation, which wreaked havoc, particularly in Sangli and Kolhapur districts, and claimed over 40 lives.
There was a need to carry out detailed technical analysis to ascertain the reasons behind the flood situation and decide measures to avoid a repeat of such tragic situations, stated the GR.
Months before elections, floods turn into poll issue
The floods in Sangli, Kolhapur and Satara districts have triggered a debate on the reasons behind the flood situation, and elicited different opinions on the issue. The various reasons cited include poor management of dams by the state Water Resource department, excess rain, illegal construction alongside rivers and backwater from Almatti dam. The flood has became a political issue ahead of the state assembly elections, with the opposition parties often criticising the state government over it.
The expert committee includes representatives from Maharashtra Remote Sensing Applications Centre (MRSAC), India Meteorological Department (IMD), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority (MWRRA) and experts from the water sector. It also has representatives from the Central Water Commission (CWC), Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and senior officers of the state Water Resource department.
The committee will conduct a detailed technical study using latest tools to ascertain reasons behind the flood situation in Krishna and Bhima river basins. “The committee will also study whether the flood situation in the state is due to the backwater effect of Almatti dam in Karnataka and other dams. It will carry out a hydrological study and give its clear opinion.”
The expert committee will give recommendations on ways to ensure that there was no repeat of the flood situation. It will also have to give dam-wise revised plan for water operation, a unified system for measuring the release of water from dams, suggestions on control of constructions in flood-prone area, a disaster management action plan, and a standard operating procedure.
The committee has to complete the study within three months and submit the report to the state government by November 30. It can include experts as special invitees in the committee and also carry out site visits for the study.
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