Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday told Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a virtual meeting on the flood situation in several states that Nepal was not cooperating in managing these disasters, PTI reported.
Modi had invited the chief ministers of Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala to attend the meeting.
“North Bihar gets ravaged by floods because of heavy rainfall in the catchment areas of Nepal,” Kumar told Modi. “In accordance with an agreement between India and Nepal, the water resources department of Bihar conducts the flood management work in the bordering areas. But we have not been receiving full cooperation from Nepal in the past few years.” Rivers originating in Nepal have inundated several areas in Bihar.
Diplomatic relations between India and Nepal have worsened over the past few months, with both countries claiming that the areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura areas are part of their territory. Nepal maintains that India has claimed the disputed region by building a link road despite repeated objections. India, on the other hand, has said that the road falls within its territory.
In June, the Nepal Parliament approved a bill demarcating the Lipulekh mountain pass, Kalapani and Limpiadora as its territory. Earlier this month, Oli claimed that the Indian government and his political rivals were plotting to oust him from power.
Uddhav Thackeray demands panel under Modi
The Maharashtra government on Monday demanded setting up of a committee under Modi to tackle crisis situations in states, PTI reported. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray also sought immediate assistance from the Centre for Maharashtra, to mitigate the adverse impact of Cyclone Nisarga, which hit the state on June 3, causing much damage in coastal districts.
Thackeray added that the present interstate flood management system is useful, but should have central government representatives. He claimed that Maharashtra suffered loss worth Rs 1,065 crore due to Cyclone Nisarga, and Mumbai alone lost Rs 500 crore owing to the heavy rains and flooding on August 5. The chief minister said Mumbai received 333 mm of rainfall on that day.
Thackeray also urged Modi to hand over a land parcel owned by the Union commerce ministry to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation at Mahul in Mumbai, so that a pumping station could be built to address water logging problems at Hindmata, Dadar and Wadala in the city.
A statement by the Centre said Modi asked Union ministers to think over Thackeray’s suggestions and requests. “PM Modi emphasised on better coordination between all central and state agencies, to have a permanent system for forecasting of floods and extensive use of innovative technologies for improving forecast and warning system,” the Prime Minister’s Office said according to ANI.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said he thanked Modi for sending National Disaster Response Force teams to the state during floods, ANI reported. “I also thanked Centre for help in rescue operations in Rajamala landslide Kozhikode plane crash,” he said.
Karnataka seeks Rs 4,000-crore assistance
Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai told reporters the state asked for Rs 4,000-crore assistance to handle the flood situation, PTI reported. “As per the initial assessment Rs 4,000 crore loss has occurred,” Bommai said. “It is a preliminary estimate because rains are continuing. A proper survey has to be done.”
Bommai said Karnataka also asked Modi to immediately release the next installment of the State Disaster Management Relief Fund of Rs 395 crore so that rehabilitation measures could be taken up. This was a preliminary submission and a detailed memorandum will soon be sent to the Centre, Bommai added.
Several parts of Malnad, coastal and interior Karnataka have been ravaged by torrential rains over the past month. At least 12 people have died in 12 districts. Bommai said 56 taluks and 885 villages have been affected. “Preliminary assessment of damage is around 3,000 houses, 80,000 hectares of crops, 3500 km of roads...also damage to electrical infrastructure, transformers, buildings, bridges, minor irrigation tanks are there,” he said.
The Karnataka home minister also suggested to Modi that a special project be commissioned to study and establish an Integrated Flood Forecasting and Response System for interstate river basins.
Revenue Minister R Ashoka, along with Bommai, attended the video conference meeting in the absence of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, who recovered from the coronavirus and was discharged from hospital only later on Monday.