Lok Satta

Thursday, 08 October 2009 11:33

Dr. JP seeks white paper on flood havoc

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Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today demanded the publication of a white paper on the floods in the Krishna River which devastated parts of the State to facilitate an honest and open debate and the creation of an institutional mechanism for the orderly release of water from storage reservoirs.

 

Talking to the media, Dr. JP said that the white paper should contain details of hourly rain forecasts by the met office, precipitation in catchment areas, Central Water Commission warnings or alerts, water floods as various points in Krishna, Tungabhadra, Handri and Kundu rivers, reservoir levels, and the hourly release of water from the reservoirs in the Krishna basin.

 

The publication of a white paper would help resolve the political controversy the floods have triggered with some arguing that they are made man-made and some others attributing them to nature’s fury.

 

In the context of the Prime Minister’s impending visit to the State, Dr. JP asked the Government of Andhra Pradesh to seek Central assistance for a long-term reconstruction program. It should include flood-proofing power generation centers and systemic improvements in power distribution and strengthening of Krishna river bunds to withstand heavy inflows of more than 20 lakh cusecs of water.

 

The Government of India should also appoint a commission to study the changes in the weather pattern as was evident from delayed monsoons and heavy rainfall in a short period. The crop seasons may have to undergo a radical restructuring if we have to live with a change in the weather pattern.

 

Dr. JP demanded that the Government close down all licensed and unauthorized liquor outlets in the flood affected areas at least for two months so that the poor do not squander assistance they receive from the Government and NGOs on liquor consumption.

 

The Government can reimburse the license fee to the bidders for the period the shops do not operate since the loss of revenue would be minimal. According to reports received at the party headquarters, liquor shops in the flood-hit areas are having roaring business.

 

The Government, he suggested, should take up relocation of ‘lanka’ villages away from the river bed when it took up reconstruction of houses.

 

The Lok Satta President wanted the Government to set aside usual revenue norms for extending immediate relief to the victims. Since the areas inundated villages are in a defined geographic area, swift, generous and universal relief should be extended.Enumeration of the flood-affected households would result in delays, partisanship, heartburn and even corruption. The affected families in all the districts would not exceed 200,000. Since 90 percent of the families in the State have white cards, provision of relief to another 10 percent of people should not cost the Government much.

 

Let not flood relief be undertaken as the cloud seeding has been, Dr. JP said referring to the attempts at precipitating rains in the cyclone/flood hit areas in the midst of heavy rains on September 29th and 30th, and October 2nd. This shows how the left hand in government does not know what the right hand is doing. The Government should clearly tell NGOs what people badly needed and the areas that need help. People are in need of fresh blankets, bed sheets, saris, utensils, cans for water and kerosene, lanterns or torch lights and dry rations and students, textbooks and notebooks.

 

Dr. JP congratulated Dr. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan who had shared the Nobel prize in Chemistry and said the NRI did India proud and testified to the intellectual prowess of Indians. India could provide many Nobel laureates if we create the right environment for talent to flourish.