During the school days, there used to be an essay on India in which there used to be a mandatory sentence that ‘India is a country of festivals’. Today one can add another sentence along with this, that ‘India is a country of floods too’. Every year, one can see that numerous regions of India is either under flood or under the threat of it. Rains have battered Kerala, Karnataka, and Maharashtra leaving many dead and several missing. Many parts of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Assam are also reeling under torrential rainfall.
The weather patterns are becoming increasingly unpredictable with every passing year leading to extreme heat, cold and flooding. Everything is there but everything has turned extreme. This is the effect of climate change caused by years of carbon emissions and the exploitation of natural resources. The construction booms of the past few decades have taken a toll on wetlands and river valleys across the different states.
There is excessive use of concrete and the illegal encroachment of river banks and lakes have constricted natural drainage systems. No wonder why flood brought havoc in Srinagar in 2014. There is a big problem of land encroachment near river beds in Srinagar too. Its impact was seen in 2014. Moreover, people have not learned from their mistakes yet as they continue to encroach land near the rivers. Consequently, every year river crosses its ‘danger mark’ but, in reality, people have themselves entered that danger mark, further aggravating the potential damage caused by floods.
India needs to strengthen its institutional capacity for disaster prevention, mitigation, and relief. Not just the NDRF, the SDRF, and the forces need to be involved in the relief and rescue process, but there is a need of awareness and collective responsibility of every person in India to not let floods prove detrimental.