POST TIME: 19 January, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Steps before rains to repair flood protection structures
State minister for water resources tells The Independent about his priorities

Steps before rains to repair flood protection structures

Flood-protection embankments and structures in areas affected by floods will be repaired before the monsoon. Besides, towns and villages vulnerable to erosion and flooding will be repaired on a priority basis. The State Minister for Water Resources, Zaheed Farooque, said this while talking to The Independent at his secretariat office on Wednesday.

The state minister also said that he plans to visit all the vulnerable areas to observe the current situation. “We will put forward our ministry’s observations after visiting various areas, First we have to gather information,” he said. Sharing his future plans with this correspondent, the state minister said: “We have taken up short, mid and long-term programmes. We have already directed the director general of the water board to write to field level officials, asking them to send reports within seven days about the actual scenario and the state of different projects.”

Steps will be taken based on reports under the short-term programme, Farooque said. Many towns are vulnerable to floods. These will be protected under the programme. There are 23 ongoing projects taken up by various departments under the ministry. These will be completed by June, he said. “We will visit these areas under our mid-term programme. Our tour will be extensive,” he added.

The major projects taken up by the ministry will continue.

“First, we want to gather experience through tours,” the state minister said.

“It is very difficult to predict a river’s nature. So, time is needed to gather experience. We will surely expedite the ministry’s work and the nation will see the change soon,” Farooque said in reply to a query.

The Prime Minister’s thoughts and her vision about the ministry’s work will be implemented first, he said.

Farooque said: “It would take some time to feel the changes. People will see the visible significant changes from next year.”

Saying dredging is a costly affair, the state minister said: “Huge amount of funds is needed for dredging. First, we

have to get the funds to dredge the rivers through proper

planning,” the newly appointed state minister for water resources said.

He further said they want to develop bilateral relations with neighbouring countries by exchanging meetings and visits.

When asked about the ministerial level meeting of the Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) not being held in the last nine years, the state minister replied: “The JRC meeting is very important. India is our brotherly country. We will take the initiative so that the meeting can be held on a regular basis.”

He sought the media’s assistance to implement the Prime Minister’s initiatives in the water resources ministry.