ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Coping with Floods in Himalayan Rivers

in defence of this is precisely the same that Ghorpade uses in the case of the local governments, that is to say, to prevent misuse and misappropriation by certain individuals at the state-level, When one puts all these together, it is not accidental that the Congress Working Committee should consider the latest Karnataka bill as a model to be recommended to the other states. And it is symbolic that the full dress convention on this 'march towards decentralisation' should be held INDIA is a country of such continental diversity that one can form contrary impressions or opinions about any of its major characteristics. When a periodic drought occurs, a feeling that nature has been too niggardly in the matter of water endowment comes to many of us. As news of flood havoc in years of excessive rainfall pours in, we begin feeling a sense of tyranny of our water bounty. In between these fluctuating moods, we get occasionally haffled by the seemingly paradoxical phenomenon of simultaneous occurrence of drought and flood in the same calendar year, sometimes in the same Mate! It is these extreme oscillations in natural phenomena that give rise to the pertinent question: why cannot the government undertake major water conservation measures, whereby surplus flood waters get effectively stored up, to be used later either in rainless months of the year, or carried over to subsequent years to cope with drought in the main monsoon season? Another related question is: why can't we harness the huge surplus waters of our highly flood-prone eastern Indo- Gangetic plains, presently flowing to the Bay of Bengal, so as to relieve inter alia the great natural water scarcity in the drought-prone tracts of the western and southern parts of the country? Though these two questions have not been squarely answered in the third Citizens' Report on the state of India's environment entitled Floods, Flood Plains and En- vironmental Myths,1 released recently by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi, yet one can conclude that the CSE's answers to these questions are primarily in the negative. For, its cen- at Amethi next month.

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