Tasked CWC to devise strategy to drain water from new lake near Rishiganga

He, however, said that states like West Bengal were yet to respond due to political ego battles.
Rishiganga lake

NEW DELHI: Union Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Friday said that Central Water Commission , the premier technical body in the field of water resources, has been tasked to devise a strategy on draining out water in a controlled way from the new lake that has been formed and discovered by scientists near avalanche site in Rishiganga.

“There is a new lake like formation after the avalanche which our scientists have discovered. So we have tasked Central Water Commission to submit a report on this and develop a strategy to drain the water in a controlled way” Shekhwat told TOI.

About 0.7 million cubic metre water is estimated to have accumulated in the new lake on the slopes of the mountain and was discovered after a rock mass fell on a hanging glacier leading to a tragedy, scientists have said.

The Jal Shakti minister also said that a team of engineers at CWC had earlier this week conceived a model to find the possible levels of rising water at different places such as Joshimath, Karnprayag, Devprayag following the floods in Chamoli.

“We shared that model on what situation would look like with all the other agencies including paramilitary forced working on rescue. This information forecast helped us mitigate the damage” he added.

He also said that scientists and other agencies were quick to ascertain the cause of Uttaranchal tragedy to a rock that fell on glacier, causing avalanche.

“And our agencies under MHA such as NDRF and ITBP and even Air Force under defence ministry coordinated with Uttarakhand government for a timely response to further damage. I hope the Opposition must never do any politics over a tragedy” he added.

Shekhawat, who was headed to West Bengal for a short trip, also said that his ministry apart from commissioning new technical projects and guidance on how to control floods was working with a national Jal Jeevan Mission to assist, empower and facilitate: States and UTs in planning of participatory rural water supply strategy for ensuring potable.

He, however, said that states like West Bengal were yet to respond due to political ego battles.

“This scheme was announced by PM Narendra Modi when we had only 16 % of piped water connections for households. Despite Covid, we have managed to provide water connections to more than 3.3 crore households. Some of the states like Telangana, Goa, Gujarat, Bihar have performed done and Haryana exceptionally well. But West Benal is the poorest peformer. We are pushing them harder but nothing happens. In West Bengal, out of 1.62 crore rural households, less than 6 lakh have connectivity. Despite this they dont want to take Centre help,” he said.

“Every state must complete a 20 % of their target every year as the project wants to see completion over five years. Unfortunately, West Bengal does not want to do this due to TMC’s ego battles. At this pace, they wont even cover 10,000 villages at end of March when they should have covered 60 lakh new connections. But people are understandig their games now. Elected governments are accountable everywhere, “he pointed out.

Replying to a question in Lok Sabha this week, Shekhawat had said whenever he calls a meeting to discuss the progress of the scheme, neither the minister concerned nor any official from the state attends it.

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