Centre should take charge of flood management: Parliamentary panel

New Delhi : As frequent floods ravage different parts of the country, a Parliamentary panel has recommended that the Union Government should take up the responsibility of flood management, in the form of a National Integrated Flood Management Group.

In a report tabled in Parliament this week, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources has called for reworking India’s flood strategies. The Committee is headed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Sanjay Jaiswal.

The Committee feels “that it is high time that our planners need to rework their flood control strategies,” the report said.

“In view of the loss of life and property caused throughout the year in almost every part of the country, the Union Government must take up responsibility for coordinating the national efforts for flood control and mitigation with all stakeholders,” it said.

The Committee has recommended the immediate setting up of a permanent institutional structure in the form of National Integrated Flood Management Group (NIFMG), managed by the Water Resource Ministry.

It also recommended that chief ministers of the states concerned should be the members of this group and the group should meet at least once a year.

It will be an overarching body to look after flood management and should also take up prevention and mitigation strategies of localised flooding events including the issues of hyper construction and water logging in urban areas as well as issues like localised landslides leading to flooding.

The group should also get a strategy prepared for identification of localised areas that are prone to localised flooding which leads to loss of life and property especially in urban areas.

“Given the scale of loss of life and property caused by the floods, which show an increasing trend, NIFMG should present an annual report on this issue to Parliament,” the report said.

It also observed that the subject of flood control as such is not mentioned in any of the three legislative lists under Schedule VII of the Constitution.

However, since “drainage and embankments” are shown in the State List, it is presumed that flood control falls under the jurisdiction of the respective state governments, barring “regulation and development of inter-state rivers and river valleys”, which is mentioned in the Union List.

Between 1953 and 2018, around Rs 4 trillion has been lost in the damages caused due to floods. Over one lakh people died in floods in this period as per the report.

At present, Madhya Pradesh is reeling under floods, with over 55,000 people being affected.