Written by Dipankar Ghose |
Upgraded: August 1, 2020 7: 56: 52 am
Sanjay Kumar Jha
What is the flood scenario in Bihar?
As of July 31, 108 blocks in 14 districts are affected. In hundreds of locations, our engineers have continued working on seepage and piping day and night.
What is the forecast for the near future and what are your preparations?
In the last 24 hours, while Gandak has been stabilising; Budhi Gandak and Adhwara group rivers have gotten a great deal of discharge from Nepal and levels show a rising trend. In 2 to 3 days we expect rain to go away in the Gandak, Budhi Gandak, and at Baghmati, Adhwara and Mahananda catchments. Water levels of Gandak, Budhi Gandak, Adhwara group rivers and Mahananda have set brand-new records this July … breaking those embeded in the1987 Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has actually been specifically worried about ensuring that people living inside embankments vacate in time. In his daily stocktaking instructions, he looks for to understand not just about rainfall, river trends, forecasts and flood-fighting efforts, but likewise the relief and rescue efforts.
Bihar’s floods are practically a yearly ritual. How has Covid-19 impacted operations this year?
We had a lockdown from March 24, and that was the peak time for the department to do anti-erosion work. These are not ordinary times, even for flood work.
A month ago you said there were concerns with maintenance work on the Gandak barrage on the Nepal side. What is the status on that?
This becomes a country-to-country thing. MEA deals with them. Our agent also sits in Kathmandu. There have actually been some concerns relating to work this time. Here, it is our federal government, and we did the work appropriately. We do flood fighting and anti-erosion work in Nepal side. There was a lockdown there, and we had no gain access to. We requested the MEA. I said that even if we fix everything, what will happen if things fail upstream. But they stopped our engineers. They said they would let them go just after thermal screening. Later, they agreed they might go. I don’t wish to speak on India-Nepal relations, but things were not as smooth this year.
The opposition states that amidst flood and Covid, CM Nitish Kumar is not marching and is focused only on elections. What is your reaction?
From day one Nitish Kumar has been keeping track of, examining every day. The number of migrants who came was not little, 30-40 lakh. I believe he handled it well. Quarantine centres were opened. I took a trip with him in June by roadway to Darbhanga and Madhubani, to examine deal with the India-Nepal border. He has seen other points of the flood circumstance. It holds true that if the CM moves too much, the administration of different regions gets affected. As far as elections is worried, it is for the Election Commission to choose. As far as my celebration is worried, JDU is for the election. Why individuals are escaping from elections, I do not understand. Because they have seen the Lok Sabha results and they were eliminated. They have seen their future.
However if the Covid curve is high, or amid floods, how will an election happen without state rallies, or individuals coming to vote?
We have time. Let’s see how things unfold in August. EC has come out with details like increasing cubicles, etc. Let them take a call. We hope things improve in Bihar. Death rates are very little, recovery rates are more than national average. Things are not as bad as projected. This is an international issue.
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