Shillong: China, Pakistan and neighbouring Bhutan have agreed to provide information on water levels of rivers flowing into India, inputs that could help lessen casualty from floods, Minister of State for Water Resources Vincent Pala said.
Water levels in these countries are directly related to the flood situation in our country and hence the Ministry took the decision to have a tie-up with these countries, he said.
The ministry, through its Central Water Commission (CWC) has set up forecast stations in the different tributaries including Brahmaputra and other parts of the border with China and other neighbouring countries like Pakistan and Bhutan, Pala said.
Chinese authorities are passing on vital information on water levels of five rivers including Sangpru converging with the Brahmaputra in the North-East, as part of the initiative to mitigate floods caused by Brahmaputra.
"Around Rs 87 lakh was paid to China in a year while another Rs 14 lakh was paid later to provide us with the information on the water-level of Brahmaputra," he said.
Besides, India has also entered into an understanding with other countries including Bhutan and Pakistan for similar activities, the Minister said.
The Brahmaputra has more than 52 main tributaries.
Elaborating more on the forecast stations, the minister said, "from these respective forecast stations, we send SMS every three hours to the concerned authorities of the respective states updating them on the level of the water."
"If required on request, we even provide the information in every hour," he said.
Such information is provided during peak monsoon for six months from May to September every year, Pala said.
Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya were the victims of flood due to overflow of water from the Brahmaputra River almost every year.
Brahmaputra flowing through Assam has become a a 'drain', Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma recently had stated while reviewing the floods incidents affected Garo hills.
On this, Meghalaya Chief Minister as a prelude, demanded on the need to have a Regional Water Authority with a mandate to mitigate the crisis brought about by the Brahmaputra River and convert it into a resources.
On this, the Union Minister of State said, "government will examine the matter if the state governments from the NE move their proposal on having such a body Regional Water Authority."