Model Flood Bill awaits implementation by states

Even as several parts of the country grapple with the flood-like situation, a 35-year-old Model Flood Bill aimed at minimising losses to life and property awaits implementation by most of the states.

New Delhi: Even as several parts of the
country grapple with the flood-like situation, a 35-year-old
Model Flood Bill aimed at minimising losses to life and
property awaits implementation by most of the states.

The bill, prepared by the Central Water Commission in
1975, will empower authorities to remove dwellings from
flood-prone areas.

The bill, if implemented, will seek to replace dwellings
in low-lying areas with parks and playgrounds, as absence of
human settlement in such areas would cut down loss of lives
and property.

The CWC had circulated the model bill to all the states
to help them enact the legislation.

Except for Manipur and Rajasthan, no state legislature
has enacted the `Model Bill on Flood Plain Zoning` so far,
sources in the Central Water Commission said.

Though Manipur enacted the legislation in 1978, the
demarcation of flood zones is yet to be carried out. Rajasthan
is yet to enforce the measure, though it has enacted the law.

Uttar Pradesh and Bihar had initiated the process of
framing the legislation a few years ago but have not taken
any further steps.

Bihar faced its worst floods in 2008. "Not much progress
has been witnessed even after the Kosi (Bihar) floods of
2008," said an official of the Water Resources Ministry.

"There has been poor progress in this respect
notwithstanding the expressions of support by states for this
approach. Worse still, there is the trend towards greater
unplanned intrusions into the flood plains in recent years,
which seem to be ignored, if not encouraged even by state
agencies," a note prepared on the model bill by the CWC
observed.

As per the model bill, different types of buildings and
utility services have been grouped under three priorities from
the point of view of damage likely to occur.

The bill provides clauses about flood zoning authorities,
surveys and delineation of flood plain area, notification of
limits of flood plains, prohibition of the use of the flood
plains, compensation and most importantly removing
obstructions to ensure free flow of water.

PTI

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