During last year floods in Western Maharashtra, it was alleged that the Karnataka government was responsible as it did not release water from the Almatti Dam and backwater of this dam caused the floods. But, the expert committee set to find the cause did not find any basis in support of this allegation. The committee observed that encroachments and construction in the river basin were the key factors responsible for these floods.
Sangli and Kolhapur districts in particular were the worst affected due to the floods and waterlogging in the first week of August last year, causing widespread destruction and economic loss, including loss of many human and animal lives. More than 3 Lakh people were displaced. It was then alleged by many people and political parties that Karnataka did not release water from Almatti and its backwater caused flood in these districts. But the experts committee did not find any proof to support this allegation. “The committee also studied the backwater of Almatti and Hipparga dams in Karnataka by using Hydrodynamic Study Model. Primarily it was found that the flood regulation at Almatti and Hiiparaga dams does not cause floods in Maharashtra,” the Wadnere committee noted.
“There are certain regional limitations of this study due to lockdown. This backwater issue should be studied again by getting the regional information which we could not get due to current situation,” the committee recommended.
A committee headed by Nandkumar Wadnere submitted its report to State government on Thursday to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. In August 2019, then Fadnavis government appointed a 10-member committee headed by former irrigation department secretary Nandkumar Wadnere to investigate into the causes of the floods in Sangli and Kolhapur districts and give recommendations for better management in the future.
Strong policy against Encroachments
“State government should implement a strict policy against encroachments. To ensure this the flood plain and zoning rules should be immediately applied to prohibited areas near the river to remove these encroachments,” the committee strongly recommended.
“Maharashtra State Climate Change Adaptation Policy 2017 and Integrated Dam regulation policy should be implemented . The flood carrying capacity of rivers should be restored. The flood lines should be updated,” the Wadnere committee recommends.
State government should deploy dopler radar for better prediction of rains in Krishna river basin.
What are the reasons?
The incessant rains in Krishna river basin, geographical design of the flood prone area and rivers, the urbanisation and construction in flood prone areas, obstacles in the flow of flood and narrowing river basins due to encroachments, are the key reasons cited by Expert committee for the flood.
The silt in the rivers and drastic reduction in natural flood carrying capacity of rivers, it added.
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