In order to check floods in Uttar Pradesh, the state's Jal Shakti Minister Mahendra Singh has a bizarre solution - offer 'pujas' to the rivers to ward off flood threats.
As the levels of water in several UP rivers rise, hinting at a possible threat of floods, the minister has asked the officials in the irrigation department to hold ritual by the rivers.
According to a report by the Times of India, the minister was addressing the field staff of the department through video conferencing and said that many villagers offer pujas and flowers to the rivers to keep away floods and that the officials too should do the same.
A spokesperson for the minister told TOI that this is not a new practice and that "Hindus worship rivers as gods and goddesses". A press release by the ministry also included instructions for pujas near swelling rivers.
The minister has also urged the field staff to stay on round-the-clock supervision and ensure that the situation does not get out of hand. The staff members have also been instructed to send photos and visuals to keep the state headquarters updated at all times.
The meteorological department has predicted heavy rainfall in the eastern part of the state during this week which could lead to waterlogging and floods. According to a report by BBC, floods caused by monsoon rains had resulted in over a hundred deaths in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in 2019. Healthcare services, traffic, transport and urban life had been completely disrupted due to the floods. This year, as the government tries to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, the threat of floods is particularly important and must be taken care of to prevent untoward incidents.