After inaugurating the submarine Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) connecting Andaman & Nicobar Islands to the mainland on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the flood situation across six states.
He held a meeting over video conferencing with Chief Ministers of Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Kerala and the Home Minister of Karnataka, to review their preparedness to deal with south-west monsoon and the current flood situation in their respective states. The meeting explored options on how to ensure rescue operation under the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic. The meeting was also attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, both ministers of State for Home Affairs, and senior officials.
The Prime Minister stressed 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 systems. He said that over the past few years, India’s forecasting agencies like India Meteorological Department and Central Water Commission have made concerted efforts to better their flood forecasts. They are trying to provide not only rainfall and river level forecast but also location specific forecast of inundation, the PM is believed to have told during the meeting.
He also informed others about pilot efforts underway to also use innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence to improve location specific forecasts, for which he urged states to provide necessary information to these agencies. That will help disseminate timely warnings to local communities, he stressed. Assam, Bihar and now Kerala have been hit by floods.
PM Modi urged for increased investment in localised early warning systems so that people in a particular area can be provided with timely warning in case of any threatening situation such as breach of river embankments, inundation levels, lightning etc. Several deaths have been reported this year due to lightning. Lightning strikes killed 147 people in Bihar in a span of 10 days in early July.
While dealing with the flood scenario, PM Modi also emphasised that in view of the Covid situation, while undertaking rescue efforts, states must ensure that people follow all health precautions such as wearing a face mask, hand sanitisation and maintaining adequate physical distance. He underlined that relief materials must include provision for hand washing or sanitising and face masks for the affected people.
During his video interaction, PM Modi said that states should ensure that all development and infrastructure projects must be built with resilience to withstand local disasters and to help in reducing consequential losses.
The Chief Ministers of Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala and Home Minister of Karnataka shared their latest updates on the flood situation and rescue efforts made in their respective states with the PM. They appreciated the efforts put in by NDRF teams in rescuing people. The 5 CMs and the HM of Karnataka gave certain suggestions for short-term and long-term measures for mitigating the effects of floods.
Prime Minister Modi immediately directed the officers of Ministries concerned and organisations to take action on the suggestions given by the states and assured that the Centre will continue to provide its support.