Monday, July 13, 2015

Is Bihar State of India prepared for the disaster?

The state of Bihar has been facing floods since for a long time.

Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi

Bihar is India's most flood-prone State, with 76% of the population in the north Bihar living under the recurring threat of flood devastation. According to some historical data, 16.5% of the total flood affected area in India is located in Bihar while 22.1% of the flood affected population in India lives in Bihar. About 68,800 square kilometres (26,600 sq mi) out of total geographical area of 94,160 square kilometres (36,360 sq mi) comprising 73.06% is flood affected.

Geographically Nepal is a mountainous region. When heavy rains occur in the mountains of central and eastern Nepal the water flows into the major drainages of Narayani, Bagmati, and Koshi rivers. As these rivers cross into India they flow into the plains and lowlands of Bihar and break their banks.

Bihar is surrounded by Nepal in the north, West Bengal in the east, Uttar Pradesh in the west and  Jharkhand towards the south. There are several rivers that run through the state: Ganga, Sone, Punpun, Falgu, Karmanasa, Durgavati, Kosi, Gandak and the Ghaghara, to name a few. Nearly 85% of the state’s land is under cultivation. Bihar also receives heavy rainfall all through June to October.

The state of Bihar has been facing floods since for a long time. It accounts for almost half of India’s average annual flood losses. In the year 1914, Bengal and Bihar faced floods. In the year 1934, Bihar was shaken by an earthquake which was again followed by floods.

The state has been facing floods ever since, but the frequency of floods has become high in recent years. There have been floods almost every year from 1979 which have caused extensive damage. Lakhs of people have lost their lives and their homes. The state has faced infrastructural losses worth crores of rupees.

The state government has built about 3000 kms of embankments, but the flow of the river has grown 2.5 times resulting in the failure of embankments in every flood.

So the big question is: is the state of Bihar prepared? The Disaster Management Department, Government of Bihar has come out with a number of schemes.
  • Procurement of motor boats and other necessary accessories like life jackets, mahajals, tents, etc. for 28 flood-prone districts.
  • To improve the response mechanism and tackle the impact of natural disasters effectively, a State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) is to be established on the similar pattern of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
  • A number of warehouses will be constructed to store the relief and rescue materials and to keep them safe and secure.
  • Establishment of Emergency Operation Centres (EOC) in all the districts to carry out rescue and relief work effectively.
  • Since the communication system often becomes dysfunctional, procurement and proper maintenance of communication systems has been taken into account. Satellite phones, GPS instruments, hand packs, walkie – talkies will be procured.
  • An Early Disaster Warning System is to be established.
  • A plan has been prepared to generate awareness among the masses about the ways and means of mitigating the risk of disaster.
The budget for the above scheme crosses 5000 crores.

What more can be done?

A number of structural measures can be taken up in the state:
  • Detention Basins: The state area has a number of depressions locally called chaurs which act as detention basins. These chaurs absorb a considerable amount of water of the first flood of the season. No man made detention basins or improvements in natural chaurs has been done.
  • Embankments: All the rivers have been embanked in the state. River Kosi is embanked on both the sides. But there are few gaps in these embankments which reduce its effectiveness. The maintenance and repair of these embankments must be taken into account.
  • Afforestation in the catchment area for absorption of rain water.
  • Channel improvement works increasing the discharge capacity of the river.

Waste Management in Bihar.


Waste management is the process of treating solid wastes and offers variety of solutions for recycling items that don’t belong to trash. It is about how garbage can be used as a valuable resource. Waste management is something that each and every household and business owner in the world needs.

Methods of Waste Disposal which can be adopted in Bihar.


The Landfill is the most popularly used method of waste disposal used today. This process of waste disposal focuses attention on burying the waste in the land. Landfills are found in all areas. There is a process used that eliminates the odors and dangers of waste before it is placed into the ground.


Incineration or combustion is a type disposal method in which municipal solid wastes are burned at high temperatures so as as to convert them into residue and gaseous products. The biggest advantage of this type of method is that it can reduce the volume of solid waste to 20 to 30 percent of the original volume, decreases the space they take up and reduce the stress on landfills.

Recovery and Recycling

Resource recovery is the process of taking useful discarded items for a specific next use. These discarded items are then processed to extract or recover materials and resources or convert them to energy in the form of useable heat, electricity or fuel.


Composting is a easy and natural bio-degradation process that takes organic wastes i.e. remains of plants and garden and kitchen waste and turns into nutrient rich food for your plants. Composting, normally used for organic farming, occurs by allowing organic materials to sit in one place for months until microbes decompose it. Composting is one of the best method of waste disposal as it can turn unsafe organic products into safe compost. On the other side, it is slow process and takes lot of space.
Hospital Wastes Management.
Hospital wastes have always been considered as potentially hazardous in view of the inherent potential for dissemination of infection. The major identified hazard was that of infection, because over millennia communicable diseases had been the most common cause of morbidity and mortality in the community and majority of persons receiving treatment in the hospitals were suffering from communicable diseases. Disinfecting right at source and disposal by incineration, which completely destroys micro-organism of all types, has been the time tested and most widely advocated method for safe management of hospital waste.

Solid Waste Mismanagement in Patna

1. Prohibit littering on the streets by ensuring storage of waste at source in two bins; one for biodegradable waste and another for recyclable material.
2. Primary collection of biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste from the doorstep, (including slums and squatter areas) at pre-informed timings on a day-to-day basis using containerized tricycle/handcarts/pick up vans.
3. Street sweeping covering all the residential and commercial areas on all the days of the year irrespective of Sundays and public holidays. Abolition of open waste storage depots, and provision of covered containers or closed body waste storage depots.
5. Transportation of waste in covered vehicles on a day to day basis.
6. Treatment of biodegradable waste using composting or waste to energy technologies meeting the standards laid down.
7. Minimize the waste going to the land fill and dispose of only rejects from the treatment plants and inert material at the landfills as per the standards laid down in the rules.