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Flood Management Programme

By Sanjay Kumar

New Delhi: Devastation by floods is a recurrent annual phenomenon in India. Almost every year, some or the other part of the country is affected by floods. Floods cause enormous damage to life, property-public and private and disruptions to infrastructure, besides psychological and emotional distress among the people. Statistics of the last 50 years’ period shows that average flood damage in the country is estimated at Rs. 1805 crore per annum while the maximum flood damages reported in a year was as high as Rs. 8834 crore in a year (2000). Rashtriya Barh Ayog (RBA) had estimated in 1980, total flood-prone area in the country as 40 million hectares which has been modified to 45.64 million hectares by the Working Group on Flood Management for the 11th Five – Year Plan. Based upon the flood data, an average 7.55 million hectares of land is affected annually of which 3.54 million hectares is the cropped area. Maximum area affected by floods in a single year was 17.50 million hectares in 1978. The Ganga Flood Control Commission identified 39 districts as flood prone districts in the country which are located in five States, viz. Assam, Bihar, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

Proper management of floods constitutes an important element in national’s development activities. In order to protect human life, land and property from flood fury in the country, state governments had been engaged in Flood Management Works and completed 35,007 km long flood embankments and 51,678 km drainage channels to provide flood protection to 2450 towns by end of the X Plan. This has provided reasonable protection to an area of 18.22 million hectares till date.

The Government had set up a Ganga Flood Control Commission (GFCC) in 1972 for preparation of comprehensive master plans for flood control measure in Ganga Basin States. Detailed Comprehensive Plans for all the 23 river systems constituting the Ganga basin had been prepared by GFCC and circulated to the concerned State Governments. Thereafter, Brahmaputra Board was set up by an Act of Parliament in 1980 to prepare comprehensive master plans for flood control in Brahmaputra and Barak Valley. The Brahmaputra Board has prepared the Master Plans of the main stem of the Brahmaputra and Barak along with 52 major tributaries of the region.

Present Flood Scenario in the country

In 2004 unprecedented floods occurred in Assam, Bihar and West Bengal. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh visited the flood affected areas and directed the Ministry of Water Resources to constitute a Task Force on Flood Management/Erosion Control to look into the problems of recurring floods. The Task Force, headed by Chairman, Central Water Commission recommended a number of flood management works under Immediate, Short Term-I Measures and Short Term-II Measures amounting to a total cost of Rs. 4,982.10 crore, to be completed within the next 5 to 7 years.

In the recent past, many parts of the country experienced unprecedented rainfall causing floods in those areas/states which never experienced floods earlier. Besides above, the problem of sea-erosion is also being experienced by various maritime States of the country. Therefore, Ministry of Water Resources decided to provide central assistance to the States during XI Plan period in entire country under a state sector scheme “Flood Management Programme” amounting to Rs. 8,000 crore.

Scope of “Flood Management Programme” – A State Sector Plan Scheme

Under ‘Flood Management Programme’ scheme, central assistance is provided to the state governments for river management, flood control, anti-erosion works, anti-sea-erosion works, drainage development, flood proofing, flood prone area development programme, restoration of damaged flood management works, etc. in critical reaches which have secured all mandatory clearances. The spilled over works of centrally Sponsored/State Sector Schemes of X Plan have also been included under the scheme.

As directed by Cabinet, an Empowered Committee under the Chairmanship of Secretary (Expenditure), Ministry of Finance having representatives from Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Finance, Planning Commission, Ministry of DONER, Ministry of Home Affairs and ministry of Environment & Forests has been constituted, which approves of the proposals submitted by the States Governments to ensure cost effective solutions.

Guidelines for Providing Central Assistance

Detailed Guidelines for providing central assistance to the State Governments were issued by the Ministry of Water Resources in December, 2007 which has been revised in August 2009. Some of the important features of the guidelines are:

• Under the scheme, central assistance to the States would be provided for taking up flood management works in an integrated manner covering entire river/tributary or a major segment. In case of emergent situation arising due to high floods, the works in critical reaches would be taken up immediately after flood season.

• The State Governments shall ensure inclusion of the scheme in the State Plan and make requisite budget provision towards Central as well as State share on annual basis.

• While submitting a new proposal, the State Governments shall ensure acquisition of land required under the scheme and would submit a certificate to this effect, failing which no funds would be released to the State Governments.

Monitoring and Evaluation Mechanism

Monitoring of the schemes under the Flood Management Programme, is being carried out by the Central Water Commission (CWC), Ganga Flood Control Commission (GFCC) and Brahmaputra Board (BB) in their respective jurisdiction. The above central organizations play an active role at formulation stage of the proposals for flood management works by the State governments in their respective jurisdiction and provide necessary guidance in preparation/submission of the proposals in time for appraisal and release of central assistance.

In the four meetings of the Empowered Committee held so far and a total of 308 proposals from 19 States with a total cost of Rs. 3033.58 crore have been included under FMP for providing central assistance amounting to Rs. 2485.03 during XI Plan to states.

Central assistance amounting to Rs. 905.83 crore has been released to states (including Rs. 85.15 crore for spilled over works of X Plan) upto the November end in 2009.

Central assistance amounting to Rs. 236.92 crore has been released to the States during the current Financial Year 2009-10 against the proposed budget allocation of Rs. 900.00 crore.

XI Plan Allocation

The FMP scheme was approved by the Cabinet ‘in principle’ with an estimated cost of Rs. 8,000 crore. However, the XI plan outlay for the scheme was limited to Rs. 2715 crore by Planning Commission. Works for providing central assistance amounting to Rs. 2570.18 crore (including spilled over works of X Plan) have already been approved/included in the Programme.

The Flood Management Programme scheme has been appreciated by all the States and a lot of demand is being received from various States, particularly from maritime States to support the anti-sea erosion works. A number of schemes from the States of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Manipur, Sikkim etc. are also in pipeline and likely to be supported under this Programme. Further, the Government of West Bengal has submitted a proposal amounting to Rs. 5796 crore to provide central assistance for restoration of embankments in Sunderbans areas damaged by cyclone ‘Aila’.

Planning Commission has been requested to enhance the plan allocation Rs. 8000 crore from Rs. 2715 crore so that all the eligible proposals may be accommodated.

New Proposals in Pipelines

The Ministry has received the request of State Governments of Assam, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal to include new schemes under FMP for central assistance.


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