Saturday, September 5, 2015
Sambalpur’s flood risk all set to increase, thanks to a vision-less planning!
A recent assessment of India’s 10 riskiest cities shows that flood is one of the major risks for almost 8 of them. However, our city planners don’t learn the lesson. The cities are increasingly blocking the passage of rainwater/flood water through construction of embankments, encroachment of water ways and flood plains. As a result flash floods and water logging problems are increasing by the years.
I was happy to listen to two Ministers of Odisha government, in a recent workshop on climate change, when they said embankments are actually not helping in flood control. I thought what we have been advocating for years is finally starting to influence the policy makers. However, this learning does not seem to have percolated down to the implementers of the state’s programmes.
The decision of extending Ring Road/Flood Embankment along Mahanadi in Sambalpur is testimony to this. The existing embankments have already proven that they make flood woes worse for the cities. Now, they are not only being widened but the length of the embankments is being expanded. And what more, funds are being sought from NABARD which is supposed to be there for rural development programmes. Our planners are more comfortable counting the crores spent in projects than envisioning truly beneficial programmes.
Mahanadi River Waterkeeper (Member, Global Waterkeeper Alliance)