Experts from Japan to help Maharashtra govt tackle floods: CM Fadnavis

Sangli was the worst-hit district in the recent Maharashtra floods. (File Photo)

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday said the state government has sought help from Japan to formulate a long-term plan to tackle floods, which will be financed by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

An eight-member team of experts from Japan have already conducted a study of the flood-hit Sangli, Kolhapur and Karad districts in western Maharashtra. The government has decided on a long-term flood mitigation plan to make Maharashtra flood-free. The government is working with a team from Japan, Fadnavis said.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation too will take the help of the experts to create Tokyo-like water tunnels to prevent Mumbai from flooding. To check whether such system can be created in Mumbai a team of civic officials and experts from Japan will visit places like frequent flooding areas, lakes and river on Tuesday.

On Monday, Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi and senior civic officials from the stormwater drain department met two Japanese officials involved in creating the water tunnel in Tokyo.

During the meeting, steps taken by other countries to deal with flooding was discussed. It was observed that Tokyo faces a similar flooding problem like Mumbai, and for that they have created huge underground tunnels where floodwater is stored and later released into the sea. With the help of this, Tokyo is now flood-free, said a civic official.

The municipal commissioner has also asked the experts to check if the stored water can be recycled and used for drinking purposes, added the official.

Conceding that dam regulation through water discharge alone cannot be a solution to tackle floods, Fadnavis said there was a need for a robust, long-term mechanism . The plan will also involve perting or lifting surplus water from western-flowing rivers and channelise it in areas hit by drought, such as Marathwada, he said.