Anine-member delegation from West Bengal left for Delhi this afternoon to demand funds for the implementation of the Ghatal master plan and a few other projects to mitigate damage caused by natural disasters.
The delegation will meet Union water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation minister Gajendra Singh Sekhawat and Niti Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar tomorrow.
“As earlier mentioned by chief minister Mamata Banerjee, we will place proposals for Ghatal master plan along with DighaGhataland Sunderban master plans and other projects of river erosion and desiltation of barrages, including
Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC),” said state irrigation minister Saumen Mahapatra, who left for Delhi today.
Apart from Mahapatra, the delegation comprises state water investigation minister Manas Bhuniya, minister Humayun Kabir, minister Seuli Saha, MLA Srikanto Mahato, MP Deb Adhikary and others.
During her visit to the flood-affected areas of Ghatal, Miss Banerjee had asked the senior ministers and Trinamul MPs and MLAs to go to Delhi and press for implementation of the Ghatal master plan.
The Ghatal master plan, which was initially chalked out by Dr Bhuniya when he was the irrigation and waterways minister in Miss Banerjee’s first government is a cluster of projects that include the dredging and widening of riverbeds, strengthening of embankments, widening of confluences of at least 10 large rivers such as the Kansabati, and at least 40 channels and subchannels passing through East and West Midnapore.
Officials of the state government said that the Ghatal master plan was important to save the area from the effects of annual flooding. “Although the state government agreed to start the work for the Ghatal master plan at a 50:50 ratio, the Modi government did not spend even a paisa. On the other hand, our chief minister has already given Rs 600 crore (50 per cent of the original project cost of Rs 1,200 crore), with which we dredged some major rivers, but we did not get the money promised by Delhi to finish the remaining work,” added Mahapatra.
This apart, the state government has prepared proposals for Sunderban and Digha master plans, river erosion and desiltation of barrages. The delegation will submit these proposals before the Union irrigation secretary and Niti Aayog officials on Tuesday. Miss Banerjee has repeatedly expressed her concern as to how frequent cyclones namely Fani, Amphan and Yaas have disrupted life and destroyed embankments leading to a loss of life and hit the state exchequer hard.