“More than 2 million hit in 10 districts in Odisha/Orissa Floods...” - Sep.’ 2011
The state of Odisha/Orissa has always been prone to floods and natives residing in flood prone areas have gone through tough times. A typical day in the life of flood vicitim in Odisha/Orissa.
Here’s a story coming from a Bank of India (Bhubaneshwar - branch) representative,“I have never seen such devastation,” says Jogania, who has arrived from Bhubaneswar to take stock of the losses. “The bank will take more than a month to get working again. Look at the strong room. The water was so forceful that it threw a massive iron box down like it was a matchbox. Our strong rooms are fire-proof, but they have no answer to the water.” The flood-filled ATM machine next to the bank stands a witness to the devastation.
There are many such stories and most of them are unattended. Although, Odisha/Orissa has been facing this problem for years now, it’s time for the State Govt.to take strict action and do effective crisis management.
What can be done?
A better way to frame this would be ‘What is the state govt. doing? Recently media reports say that the Secretary, Water Resources of the Govt. of Odisha/Orissa has issued a letter to Bhubaneswar Development Authority and Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation to take strong steps and see that no residential areas are built on flood plains. While we welcome this move, we see this as too little and ‘lip service’ to the real problem of increasing flood menace in the state.
While, there have been many relief concerns, it seems that the state govt. has gone slow on the rehabilitation work, there are certain actions which can help many who suffered incredible amount of losses due to these natural disasters. The Odisha/Orissa State Govt. needs to form an effective river regulation zone, rehabilitate and provide the right relief necessary for the flood victims.
Tell Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to show his concern for the flood victims of Odisha/Orissa that you care about them and will not let them continue to live in fear and dismay.
Shri Naveen Patnaik,
I just signed the following petition addressed to: Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik
Please address my concerns and pass an effective River Regulation Zone which can help in proper river basin planning and management and hence help rivers from further dying and also in reducing flood furies - this can solve the never ending crisis of floods in Odisha/Orissa.
1. To do an immediate assessment of all encroachments of flood plains and free them with adequate rehabilitation and compensation to the poor and marginalised sections.
2. The State Govt., should pursue for a participatory discussion on the National River Regulation Zone and push for a proper notification that helps proper river basin planning and management.
3. In 1975 the Central Water Commission (CWC) had circulated a “Model Bill on Flood Plain Zoning” for the state governments to take it up as a model for freeing flood plains from encroachments by empowering the authorities appropriately. However, 36 years have passed and the state government has not brought that into action in the state.
4. The CWC had circulated the model Bill to all the states to help the state governments enact legislation. This Bill, if enacted, will have provisions like replacing dwellings in low-lying areas by parks and playgrounds so that vulnerability in terms of loss of life and property could be reduced. As per information available with us, the Bill had grouped different types of buildings and utility services under three priorities from the point of view of damage likely to occur. The model Bill provided clauses about flood zoning authorities, surveys and delineation of flood plain area, notification of limits of flood plains, prohibition of the use of the flood plains, compensation and most importantly removing obstructions to ensure free flow of water.
5. Enact a legislation following the Model Bill, after ensuring proper discussion with the people of the state. As an immediate measure, before this process takes place, we urge upon the Govt. to issue strict circulars to all urban bodies of the state to remove encroachments from flood plains by entering into ‘free prior informed dialogue and consent’ process with the would be affected communities and adhering to best rehabilitation packages.
6. The Govt. of Odisha/Orissa should take a proactive action to pursue the Govt. of India to put this plan in public and initiate discussion with each state and the people of the country and bring into force a strict River Regulation Zone which can help in proper river basin planning and management and hence help rivers from further dying and also in reducing flood furies.
Show the flood victims of Odisha/Orissa that you care about them and will not let them continue to live in fear and dismay.
Policies must be put in place to ensure that flood victims get the care and relief they deserve.