Floods will be thing of past: AP CM

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Hyderabad, Oct 21 (UNI) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy today asserted that floods would be a thing of the past, thanks to ambitious irrigation initiative and modernisation of major irrigation systems in the state.

Delivering the presidential address at the first World Congress on Disaster Management here, Dr Reddy said, ''I can confidently say that Andhra Pradesh will be immunised from recurrent floods in the near future.'' Highlighting his pet ''Jalayganam programme,'' which will utilise every drop of water going unutilised into the sea, the Chief Minister said his government had undertaken an ambitious programme to strengthen flood banks, unmindful of huge expenditure involved.

''While we may not have control over disasters unleashed by nature like cyclones, tidal waves and earthquakes, we can, however, avert disasters caused by terrorists and human failure in running chemical and nuclear plants,'' Dr Reddy observed.

Calling for stepping up vigil to prevent disasters triggered by terrorists, he exhorted the citizens to play a key role in identifying potential terrorists and alerting the government so that they could be nipped in the bud.

Making a mention of river Kosi turning course recently, causing havoc in Bihar and the 1977 tidal wave in Andhra Pradesh which left over 10,000 people dead, he said droughts attracted little attention.

It nonetheless caused immense sufferings due to loss of livelihood, he said, adding that hence, the government was implementing the National Rural Employment Programme (NREP) to provide jobs for 100 days to workers.

The state government had put in place elaborate systems for relief and rehabilitation of the affected people and evolved a manual for disaster preparedness, he said, adding that amateur radio was being promoted to take care of communication in the wake of disasters.

He exhorted the experts to come out with comprehensive and practical guidelines to mitigate the sufferings caused by disasters.

UNI SM VA SKB SB HT1730

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