STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Malda, 4 September
The flood situation in Malda is gradually taking a formidable turn. A student of Class VII, Prem Kumar Mandal (12), died after being drowned in flood waters at Gosaintola village in Baishnabnagar police station taking the toll to 10 in the past one month. While the Ganga has been flowing 57 cm above the extreme danger level (EDL), red alert has also been sounded in Fulohar. The water level in the Mahananda and Tangor river has been rising competitively. Flood-hit villagers have expressed extreme discontent at the role of the district administration in handling the situation.
It has been learnt that the student fell into a water filled ditch connected with the Ganga today. He was soon carried away by the current. His body was found after an hour by the villagers. It may be mentioned that five persons in Manikchak, three in Kaliachak-III and two persons in Harischandrapur-II block have died so far in the flood this season.
It has been learnt from the irrigation department that the Ganga was flowing today at 25.87 metres while the EL is 25.30 metres. The Ganga has not risen so high in the past 10 years, according to irrigation officials. The Executive engineer of the department, Mr Amaresh Kumar Singh, said that as the lock-gate of the embankment on Shone river in Uttar Pradesh had been opened, the water level rose in the Ganga.
Large stretch of areas of Manikchak and Kaliachak-III block has been inundated already. Mr Singh conceded that the irrigation department did not have adequate strength to combat the formidable situation. He apprehended that the water level would rise further in the Ganga in the next few days.
Meanwhile, there is confusion regarding the number of flood victims in the district. According to reports of the block development officer (BDO) of Kaliachak-III, 1.80 lakh people have been hit by the recent flood. In Manikchak, the figure is 1 lakh, in Ratua-I 50,000 and in Harischandrapur-II 30,000 as per the reports of the BDOs. Eighty-six villages have been largely affected by flood.
On the other hand, the Social Welfare Minister Mrs Sabitri Mitra, said: “70,000 people have ben hit by flood in Malda.” But her statement was contradicted by Additional District Magistrate (Development) Mr NK Biswas who said that the figure was much higher.
The DM, Malda, Mr Godala Kiran Kumar, said that families of those who died in the flood would get compensation from the state government. But he denied that there were grievances regarding distribution of relief in inundated areas. Mr Kumar said that two ADMs have been deputed to monitor the flood situation round the clock.
The Tourism Minister Mr Krishnendu Choudhury and Mrs Mitra today held a crucial meeting with the district administration to review the flood situation. Mr Choudhury said: “We would not tolerate politicisation in distributing the relief materials. We have asked the administration to form an all party committee in all blocks to supervise the relief distribution.”
Mr Choudhury and Mrs Mitra today blamed the Congress-led Union government&’s policies once again for the flood in Malda.