Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today held Jharkhand and DVC responsible for the current “man made” flood in the southern part of the state that has claimed two lives including a child in Ghatal and affected over 22 lakh people while attributing it to the unplanned and enhanced discharge of water from dams and barrages in the neighbouring state without information.
Miss Banerjee will conduct an aerial survey of some of the flood-hit areas of Bankura, Purulia, West Midnapore, Howrah and Hooghly tomorrow. The state administration stated this to be the second massive flood in this season. Many flooded areas were such that those were flooded during July-end but the water had still not receded.
Miss Banerjee alleged that lack of dredging in dams and barrages by Jharkhand has led to excessive discharge of water causing the flood situation in Bengal and urged the Jharkhand government to carry out dredging in its reservoirs.
She warned of “massive protest” if dredging of dams and barrages is not done to prevent recurrence of floods. Opposition BJP and the Congress said that DVC always apprised the Bengal government before releasing excess water and this time was no exception.
“DVC released water at 3 am without prior information. As a result the entire Asansol area was submerged along with Bankura and Purulia. If it rains in Jharkhand and Bihar, we suffer. The Jharkhand government should do dredging. It is a crime. If excessive water is released without information in the dead of the night, how will people save themselves?” she questioned adding that state chief secretary HK Dwivedi has spoken to Jharkhand chief secretary
in this regard.
Claiming that reservoirs in Jharkhand have not been cleaned in the last 50 years, Miss Banerjee said: “If the cleaning processes had been carried out in time, the dams and barrages would have held more water.”.
She said that she was sad that the flood took place just before the Durga Puja and affected lakhs of people. She also expressed fear that the situation may deteriorate on Mahalaya day before the pujas when the high tide takes place.
“I would have understood if the flooding was due to heavy rainfall. But the flood here is due to water release by Jharkhand and DVC. This is unjust. We cannot keep facing such a situation whenever it rains. It’s a man-made flood. If we had prior information of water release then we could have managed to evacuate the people,” she added.
Giving a detailed account of the excessive water discharged by dams, Mr Dwivedi said Panchet and Maithon dams have discharged 1.5 lakh cusec of water till this afternoon and it was reduced by 25,000 cusec in the evening.
During the first flood of this season a total of 1.12 lakh cusec of water was discharged. The Sitkari barriage on Ajay river 1.20 lakh cusec till this morning, he said.
There were reports of dam breaches in several areas including Nanoor, Ketugram, Ausgram and others. A Group of Ministers and senior IAS officials have been sent to monitor the flood situation in the districts. Mr Subrata Mukherjee will reach Bankura on Monday while Mr Malay Ghatak and Mr Kalyan Banerjee will oversee the flood relief work in Bankura, Purulia and Asansol.
Mr Firhad Hakim and Mr Becharam Manna have been entrusted to monitor the situation in Hooghly. Mr Pulok Roy has been given the charge of Howrah and Mr Aroop Biswas of East Midnapore. Similarly, Mr Swapan Debnath is in
charge in East Burdwan and Dr Manas Bhuniya is in charge in West Midnapore. Among the senior IAS officers, MSME secretary Rajesh Pandey has been deployed in West Burdwan, Vijay Bharti in Birbhum, Abhinav Chandra in Bankura, Manoj Agarwal in Hooghly, Manish Jain in Howrah and MV Rao in Midnapore.
She also appealed to the people to provide financial assistance to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for helping the state government in undertaking the flood relief work. Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari told
reporters that the chief minister is “not speaking the truth” as any decision on release of water cannot be unilaterally taken by DVC.