Last year, the three-time CM of Bihar, Shri Nitish Kumar got angry, when reporters chased him on Bihar floods. He lost his temper with reporters when questioned about floods in Bihar.
When quizzed about the deaths last year, Kumar said “I am asking in how many parts of the country and across the world, have there been floods? Is the water in some parts of Patna the only problem we have? What happened in America?.” Displaying arrogance and no respect for people who were impacted.
Mr Kumar, to refresh your memory, Bihar is the most flood-affected state in India, accounting for close to 17.2% of the total flood-prone area in the country. Mr Kumar’s government did not learn from last year’s disaster; in fact, it has not learnt from the previous fifteen years in office, every year, Bihar has seen floods. Last year in Bihar, out of its 38 districts, 28 districts were flooded affecting 88 lakh people, with at least 130 deaths. The government estimated, crops worth Rs 353 crore were destroyed in the floods.
Come 2020, and the situation is even worse, if Mr Kumar had taken actions, this year disaster would have been mitigated. Considering COVID19 epidemic, the state government should have been better prepared and not risked lives. Floods in Bihar are not a surprise, and they are an annual ritual which makes thousands of contractors thousands of crores in billing. Then customary rituals follow — aerial surveys by politicians, the promise of more funds and the blame-game between Centre, State and Nepal.
In flood control, it’s no secret; there is a honed system of percentages in which there is a share for everyone who matters. Despite, other options, Bihar is pursuing a pro-embankment policy because it helps perpetuate the well-oiled politician-technocrat-contractor nexus. Since Independence, successive Bihar governments have sold embankments as a solution to floods, ignoring warnings that these earthen structures may worsen the situation.
According to the Bihar State Disaster Management Authority (BSDMA), 73.63 per cent of the geographical area of North Bihar is prone to floods. Blaming Nepal for releasing water through barrages and causing floods in north Bihar is a lie. There are only two barrages, on Gandak and Kosi. Water Resources Department of Bihar is responsible for both these barrages. So it means the Government of Bihar approves and controls the release of the water.
The people of Bihar need a better solution to flooding, in fifteen years of Mr Kumar’s government and now with his ally BJP in Centre, the issue should have been solved. However, Mr Kumar is busy reminding people about the era of Lalu Yadav. Mr Yadav did not deliver, that’s why he was voted out by people, you too Mr Kumar need to perform, or in the next elections, you may be very well be sitting in the opposition benches. Remember, “of the people, for the people and by the people”.