"Early warning system soon in flood-prone districts"

Kolkata, Dec 19 : In an attempt to reduce loss and damage caused by floods, the West Bengal government will soon install "early warning system" in all floods-prone districts including Darjeeling, Malda, Murshidabad, Hooghly, East and West Midnapore.

This was disclosed by Rajib Banerjee, Minister for Irrigation & Waterways, West Bengal, at the Inaugural Session of the two-day Water Exposition 2013 organised by CII Eastern Region in Kolkata on Thursday.

According to the Minister, this World Bank-funded project is awaiting clearance from the Central Water Commission (CWC).

"The World Bank is okay with it. All we are waiting for is green light from CWC," said Banerjee.

The minister also held a meeting along with senior officials of the department with Ashwin Pandiya, Chairman, Central Water Commission, to discuss "some pending subjects" including some upcoming water storage structures.

Ashwin Pandiya, who delivered the keynote address at the Exposition, sought to explain the enormity of the crisis of water.

"It is no longer a simple fluid. Although India has reasonably sufficient amount of water, the distribution is still lop-sided," he said.

Pandiya called for national-level policies and strategies to enable the country brace for the challenges ahead.

"Since water is a strategic resource, it can no longer be discussed in isolation. There must be political and societal unanimity so that water or the lack of it does not become a constraint in development. It is after all something that is lifeline for people and development," Pandiya added.

Dhiman Mukherjee, Principal Secretary, Irrigation and Waterways, West Bengal, Anil Vaswani, Co-Chairman, Environment Task Force CII Eastern Region, and Director, Wesman Engineering Ltd, and Saugat Mukherjee, Regional Director, were also present at the Inaugural Session.

--IBNS (Posted on 19-12-2013)

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