Government to revive talks on Bill for floodplains

Bill that will help avoid massive damage to life, property ignored for over 40 years.

Published: 16th August 2018 05:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th August 2018 05:07 AM   |  A+A-

The water level of the Yamuna river crossed the danger mark on Wednesday in New Delhi | shekhar yadav

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: With floods creating havoc in Kerala, the Union water resources ministry is planning to renew discussions with states over passing a Bill on creating floodplain zones which has been ignored by most states for more than 40 years. The Model Bill on Flood Plain Zoning was circulated to all the states in 1975 for guidance on enactment of the legislation. The Model Bill provides for flood zoning authorities, surveys and delineation of floodplain area, notification of limits of floodplains, prohibition or restriction of the use of the floodplains, compensation and power to remove obstructions.

With floods becoming an annual phenomenon in India, floodplain zoning can help in better management of floodplain area to avoid massive damage caused to life and property.     “The ministry will hold discussions with state governments and try to resolve the underlying factors due to which they are not forthcoming with the desired legislation,” said a senior water ministry official. 

Besides, the water ministry has also decided to focus on implementation of a Flood Management Programme (FMP), keeping in mind the huge backlog due to insufficient funds allotted to various schemes. A committee set up by the ministry under Chairman, Central Water Commission, is examining these schemes and adequate budgetary allocation would be required for completing the spillover works already approved under FMP.    

Manipur enacted a floodplain zoning legislation in 1978, but the demarcation of flood zones has not been done, as yet. Rajasthan has also enacted the legislation. Uttarakhand also passed the Flood Plain Zoning Act on December 16, 2012, but the demarcation of flood zones has not been done as yet. Some states, such as Bihar and UP, have informed about difficulties in implementation of the Bill due to large flood-affected plain areas.

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