STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Siliguri, 14 July
Engineers associated with the North Bengal Flood Control Commission started restoration work preventing the river Torsa from changing its course near Chilapata forest region in the Dooars to save Cooch Behar town.
The river Torsa changed its course and shifted 90 degrees from its existing waterway due to huge silt deposits on its bed, said chief engineer and chairman of NBFCC, Mr Gangadhar De.
“To save Cooch Behar town, engineers started restoring flood protection measures on a war-footing after the river hit them. Preventive measures were taken earlier there to protect the town. If the present structure is breached, floodwaters from Torsa will inundate nearby areas, including Cooch Behar town,” he said.
According to NBFCC, catchments of the Teesta like Malbazar, Banarhat and adjoining areas in the Dooars received heavy rains in the past 24 hours. As a result, yellow signal on the Teesta continues to alert people living in unprotected areas.
A large part of Kumargram block in Jalpaiguri and Tufanganj area in Cooch Behar are still waterlogged. The receding trend is also very low because adjoining rivers like Kaljani and Torsa are carrying huge quantum of waters due to rains in their catchment areas.
The NBFCC chairman, Mr De, said severe erosion continued damaging bank lines of both the Kaljani and Torsa in Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar area.
According to Mr De, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has sent forecast of heavy to very heavy rain for the next 24 hours in this region. But areas like Cooch Behar, Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri have not yet received heavy rains over the past three days.
Due to heavy rains over the past few days the price of green chili has gone beyond reach in local markets. The present rate of green chili is over Rs 70 per kg in Jalpaiguri and Siliguri markets.
According to traders, plants for green chili fields were underwater in many areas in the past week due to continuous heavy rains and started rotting after water receded.