August 1, 2021 2:23:41 pm
Maharashtra Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis wrote a letter Sunday to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray recommending short and long-term measures to tackle the floods in the state.
Urging Thackeray to convene an all-party meeting to deliberate on the grave situation which has left lakhs of people devastated, Fadnavis listed certain recommendations based on his tour of the flood-hit areas.
The Opposition leader emphasised the need for a disaster management cell in the Konkan region which has borne the brunt of repeated natural calamities including cyclones and said, “A permanent Konkan Disaster Management Unit, which is adequately equipped with manpower, is must.” In the last one year, the coastal region has thrice been hit by cyclones or floods leaving people vulnerable.
The former Maharashtra chief minister had on July 25 visited Mahad in Raigad district and Chiplun in Ratnagiri district to assess the extent of flood damage. Between July 28 and 31 he also toured Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur districts in the western part of the state.
Fadnavis has listed his suggestions based on the spot visits and his interaction with the flood-hit people. The short-term measures mentioned in his letter include providing financial assistance to people for removing the mud/debris that has entered their homes/shops, allowing the submission of mobile phone-clicked photos of damaged homes as valid proof and expediting distribution of compensation to families of the deceased.
He has also sought provision of food, clothes and medicines to the affected people and prioritisation of healthcare amid the pandemic. As many as 700 Covid-19 cases and around 25 deaths are being reported in Kolhapur daily.
Among other measures sought are immediate compensation to farmers for crop/cattle loss and to pay electricity bills, aid for fishermen and shopkeepers, assistance to rebuild or repair damaged houses with free supply of sand, stones and cement. Hassle-free provision of necessary documents for those who have lost it and low-interest loans for restarting disrupted livelihoods have also been listed.
Besides the independent disaster management unit suggested for the Konkan region, long-term actions recommended include a survey by experts to map flood/landslide-prone villages and relocation of such villages, diversion of flood waters from Krishna basin using canals and tunnels to drought-hit Marathwada districts. This could be done through the Krishna Bhima Stabilisation project. Permanent rehabilitation of affected families in Koyna Nagar has also been requested.
Citing the case of the Kolhapur Basket Bridge, Fadnavis pointed out that the demand for raising the heights of several bridges has long been ignored. As many as 22 bridges in Kolhapur require a holistic plan.
He recommended roping in experts to determine why cities like Sangli, Kolhapur and Satara get flooded even with less rainfall. Fadnavis also mentioned that land for rehabilitating flood-prone villages had been sanctioned at Chikli and Ambegaon in Kolhapur 32 years ago. The project, however, has been stalled in the absence of necessary documents from the revenue department.
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