West Bengal to have 'early warning system' in flood-prone districts

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West Bengal
Kolkata, Dec 20: Minister of Water and Irrigation, Rajib Banerjee, in an Inaugural Session of the 2-day Water Exposition 2013 organised by the CII Eastern Region in Kolkata, revealed that the West Bengal government is planning to install "early warning systems" in all flood-prone districts, which include Malda, Darjeeling, Murshidabad, Hooghly, East and West Midnapore.

The minister further says that the World Bank has given a green signal to the project and has agreed to fund it. "All we are waiting for is green light from CWC," he said. In fact, the minister spoke to Ashwin Pandiya, Chairman, Central Water Commission regarding the matter.

The Exposition itself was highly informative that discussed the the importance of national-level policies and strategies to tap the natural water resources to gear up for the challenges ahead.

Pandiya said,"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 a lifeline for people and development."

Another speaker, Umesh Chowdhury, Vice Chairman of CII West Bengal State Council, said in his welcome address,"West Bengal is highly water stressed. In fact, because of its geo-ecological fragility, the entire region is highly prone to the consequences of water stress. A large number of people, especially those living in far corners, walk miles to fetch safe water. Caused chiefly by industrial effluents, pollution of water sources, including vast stretches of rivers, is also posing huge environmental and health hazards."

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